Government releases independent report on revitalizing ALR, ALC

Lana Popham
Lana Popham

THE Province has released the final report of the independent Advisory Committee for Revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

“I want to thank the committee for its dedication and the thoughtful recommendations made in this report,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Our government is committed to helping farmers farm. We asked the committee members to provide advice on how the ALR and ALC can provide the best support for farmers, ranchers and producers to ensure B.C.’s agricultural sector continues to thrive, and they delivered.”

The committee, consisting of eight British Columbians with diverse agricultural backgrounds and experience, proposed 32 recommendations to support agriculture in the province. The final report is available at:

https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/impact/agricultural-land-reserve-results/

More than 2,300 British Columbians responded to the committee’s online discussion paper and survey, and the committee also received over 270 written submissions. The committee held engagement sessions with local governments and agricultural stakeholders in nine communities throughout the province and met with the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the ALC.

Following the committee’s interim report of 13 key recommendations for legislative change, the B.C. government took action.

Bill 52, passed into law in November 2018, implemented changes to keep farmland affordable for farmers and crack down on the illegal dumping of construction waste and unauthorized fill on farmland.

Bill 15, tabled in February 2019, focuses on giving the ALC the tools it needs to support farmers and ranchers in every corner of B.C.

These changes work in concert with other actions taken by government to help farmers farm so they can keep creating good jobs around B.C. These include:

* relaunching Buy BC to connect farmers and consumers to more made-in-B.C. products;

* a Feed BC initiative to increase the amount of B.C. food in hospitals, bringing new opportunities for producers and better hospital food for people; and

* helping more people start farming through Grow BC with a new Land Matching Program that has already connected 29 new and young farmers with farmland throughout B.C.

The release of the final report completes the committee’s work that began in January 2018.