I am writing to express my alacrity to support Bill 52, the Agriculture Land Commission Amendment Act, 2018. Few bills under consideration have as immediate and direct impact for everyday British Columbians as this hallmark piece of legislation; if passed, the integrity of our farmland will be restored, and the needs of the people will be prioritized over the wants of special interest groups.
Words cannot possibly express how dissatisfied I have been over the past several years. I have, with great disdain, spent many mornings pouring over the local news questioning why on earth our elected officials would so blatantly and shamelessly side with corporate and foreign interests at the expense of our farmland.
I have been an outspoken advocate of sensible, actionable laws and regulations aimed at protecting the Agricultural Land Reserve and our interests in ensuring that the future generations have enough arable farmland for their future food needs.
After diligent research, I have concluded that Bill 52 addresses the aforementioned concerns on three levels. Firstly, it restores the integrity of the Agricultural Land Reserve and sends a clear message that all land in the ALR will benefit from the same, strong protections.
Secondly, it stops the outrageous provisions for mega-mansions on farmland and ensures that all new houses are under 500 square metres, thereby helping to curb speculation which is driving up the cost of both farmland and residential houses in the region.
Thirdly, it appropriately cracks down on the irresponsible dumping of construction debris, waste, fill and other environmental hazards threatening the ALR.
It is increasingly important to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve given the pressures of residential development, speculation and climate change. We need only look south to California to see what is happening to their food supply, which we have also become reliant on, and ask ourselves: “Is this the future we want?”
A changing climate impacts our ability to feed ourselves, and it is increasingly evident that British Columbia should be doing everything in its power to protect farmland from all threats and liabilities.