B.C. is being asked to weigh in with ideas about how to revitalize the ALR/ALC until April 30. (THE NEWS/files)

Public input from across B.C. now being sought on revitalizing the ALR

Stakeholder meetings are slated to be held in various communities over the next six weeks

Eaters, ranchers, growers and farmers. Everyone’s got a stake at the table.

Revitalization of both the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) are on the menu across B.C. for the next six weeks.

Public consultation called for by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, and led by an advisory committee, has started in earnest. There’s an online survey for the public, and engagement sessions for invited stakeholders until the end of April.

The nine-member independent advisory committee including Chilliwack city councillor/farmer Chris Kloot, and UFV professor Lenore Newman, is pushing ahead with a mandate to hear from a broad range of stakeholders on how to create a robust ALR.

“It’s important to hear from all corners of the province,” said Kloot. “We aim to reach out and consult as many people as possible.”

The committee heard from stakeholders this week in Richmond, and Nanaimo, with a future session in Abbotsford set for an undisclosed date, time and location. Abbotsford will see the only consultation session in the Lower Mainland.

READ MORE: Kloot named to ag committee

The revitalizing topics are everything from defending the ag land base, to fish farms, zones 1 & 2, and the issue of monster homes on farmland. Non-farm use, food security and ALR resilience are also common themes.

The just-released discussion paper can be used as “a road map” for those revitalization conversations, Kloot said.

“The question of mega homes is one of the really big things so far,” said Kloot.

Chilliwack devised its own Farm Home Plate bylaw to discourage the practice of building monster homes, which may be something the province will look at on a broader scale.

READ MORE: Chilliwack’s home plate bylaw

The advisory committee will report to the Minister by fall 2018.

The public is invited to submit feedback and ideas by April 30, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

There is a discussion paper to read first and then an online survey to complete.

Feedback from stakeholders and the public will help the committee provide “substantive recommendations” for revitalizing the ALR and the ALC, according to ministry officials.

“Public input is vital to the success of this initiative. The committee will use the input it receives during the engagement process to develop recommendations for the provincial government’s consideration.

“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.”

For details on about how to provide input/feedback, email ALR_ALCRevitalization@gov.bc.ca.

Send written feedback to:

Minister’s Advisory Committee

Revitalization of ALR and ALC

C/o Ministry of Agriculture

PO Box 9120, Stn. Prov. Govt.

Victoria BC V8W 9B4

Email: ALR_ALCRevitalization@gov.bc.ca

The committee will also be hosting future regional stakeholder meetings with invited representatives to hear directly from the local farming and ranching communities and organizations in communities including Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, and Quesnel.

But officials say they are not releasing the times, dates or locations of the meetings publicly at this point.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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B.C. is being asked to weigh in with ideas about how to revitalize the ALR/ALC until April 30. This shot shows a view of Chilliwack from Chilliwack Mountain, May 2008. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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