The public engagement portion of the Revitalization of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission has reached the halfway point, with more than 7, 510 visits to the engagement website, and stakeholder meetings held in nine communities throughout British Columbia.
“The public engagement site has seen a lot of interaction from British Columbians who are passionate about our Agricultural Land Reserve, and want to share their vision for the revitalization,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “So far we’ve had 989 surveys completed, and we hope to see that number increase over the next half of the engagement period. Now’s the time to have your say on revitalizing the ALR for the 21st century.”
Popham announced the members of the independent committee tasked with overseeing the ALR revitalization process in January of this year. The committee produced a consultation paper, which is available on the public engagement website, to guide the engagement process, as well as the stakeholder meetings.
“Our advisory committee has visited communities in regions around the province, meeting with farm and ranch organizations and local governments to listen to their views on revitalizing the ALR and ALC. Our committee has heard concerns about growing pressures on agricultural land and the need to support farm and ranch businesses,” said Jennifer Dyson, chair of the ALR Revitalization Committee. “A sincere thank-you to all participants who provided thought-provoking discussion and ideas. We are thankful for the passion and interest behind each conversation as part of this engagement. We encourage everyone to take the time to provide their input.”
The committee will use the input it receives during the engagement process to develop recommendations.. The recommendations may include changes to the current legislative, regulatory, and administrative framework to revitalize the ALR and the ALC. Any legislative changes that support the revitalization of the commission and the reserve are targeted for late 2018 or early 2019.
The ALC is an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia. The ALR is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use, farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted. For more information see www.alc.gov.bc.ca