There’s more to the story than what Delta South MLA Ian Paton is conveying.
That’s the response today from the provincial agriculture ministry regarding Paton, the Liberal co-agriculture critic, blasting the New Democrat government’s policies which forced the owners of the Rusted Rake Farm Eatery in Nanoose Bay to shut their doors after the Agricultural Land Commission denied their non-farm use application.
He said the closure is another example of agricultural businesses struggling under the rigid ALR regulations set out by the NDP government.
However, the ministry is pointing out the rules were put in place by the previous Liberal government, while the ALC’s decision notes the decision mentions the business didn’t have zoning from the local government to operate.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham also issued the following statement: “I’m aware of the recent decision of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to deny the applications put forward by the Rusted Rake.
The ALC is an independent, administrative tribunal – arm’s length from government – with an important mandate to preserve agricultural land and encourage farming in British Columbia.
To be clear, the ALC’s decision was made based on rules put in place by the former BC Liberal government in 2016.
Our government strongly supports farmers including value-added activities on their farms within the ALR to help them build and sustain their farming businesses and connect people in B.C. to the local food and beverages they enjoy.
We are always considering ways to increase the business opportunities available to farmers within the ALR, while recognizing that any changes must be balanced, and ensure we continue to protect valuable agricultural land in B.C.
In the coming weeks, government will be engaging directly with farmers, the public and stakeholders to discuss how we can support more value-added activities on farms within the ALR.”