The B.C. government’s consultation on the future of the Agricultural Land Reserve will have more than opinions to weigh this spring, as Kwantlen University’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems has released a white paper detailing the forces that continue to chip away at the province’s farmland.
About 50 per cent of ALR land is lying unused, in part due to B.C. s failure to ensure the economic viability of the food sector, according to the authors of Protection is not Enough.
But that doesn’t mean it should be used for something else, according to Richard Bullock, former chairman of the Agricultural Land Commission, which oversees the ALR.
Rather, “serious consideration should be given to eliminating the ability to exclude land from the ALR and to ensure that agricultural vitality of land within the ALR is maintained,” he writes.
The ALR was created in 1973 to protect 4.7 million hectares of farmland, because only five per cent of B.C.’s land area is considered suitable for agriculture. At that time more than 6,000 hectares of farmland was being lost to development each year. That pace has slowed to about 600 hectares a year.
Randy Shore – Vancouver Sun – March 7, 2018.