Changes strengthening Agricultural Land Commission now law

changes will enhance the operational capacity of the Agricultural Land Commission

B.C.’s agricultural land now has even greater protection after legislation strengthening the Agricultural Land Commission became law.

“The changes will enhance the operational capacity of the Agricultural  Land Commission in order to expand opportunities for farmers and  ranchers,” said B.C. Agriculture Minister Don McRae. “British Columbians  value local food, local farmers and local farms, and the Province has  supported those values with this action.”

“The new legislation and related initiatives should rectify some of the  concerns of the agriculture community, while securing land for food  production,” said B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin  Boon. “This will be extremely important to B.C.’s economy as we move towards an era where food will become one of the most sought-after resources any country can provide.”

As a result of the legislation, the Agricultural Land Commission is now  able to:

* Increase enforcement within the Agricultural Land Reserve by involving  qualified officials from other government agencies and levels of  government in enforcement activities.

* Place a five-year moratorium on repeat applications to the ALC and  focus resources on core functions like preserving farmland and  encouraging farming.

* Begin the transition to a more self-supporting operating model by 2013,  and prepare to augment provincial funding by charging certain fees.

* Ensure greater consistency and consideration of the ALC’s core values  in regional panel decision-making by increasing the oversight of the  chair of the ALC.

 

The legislation is part of a comprehensive reform package that also  includes $1.6 million in additional provincial funding, increased sharing  of provincial resources, and a new minister’s bylaw standard restricting  building residential homes in the Agricultural Land Reserve.