Former Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock. (Jeff Nagel/Black Press Media)

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Former B.C. Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock has come out in favour of the NDP government’s changes to commission rules, arguing that the farmland protection organization is facing too many applications for exclusion.

Richard Bullock was fired by the B.C. Liberal government in 2015 after he resisted their use of regional panels to decide on secondary uses and land exclusion applications. Bullock sent a letter to Black Press Media Monday, supporting the latest changes tabled by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham to eliminate the regional panels and make property owners apply through their local government, rather than directly after local government input.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals axe Agricultural Land Commission chair

READ MORE: B.C. farmers aren’t ‘persons’ under new ALR legislation

“Having reviewed the proposed legislation and read the media coverage, as I understand it, individual landowners will continue to be able to apply for subdivision and non-farm uses in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR),” Bullock wrote. “During my tenure, and I believe it is still the case today, [subdivision and non-farm use applications are] a very low proportion of applications to the ALC, less than 10 per cent.

“As chair, I observe that the large majority of the exclusion applications were not from farmers and ranchers but instead from folks looking to make a substantial gain from paving over good agricultural land.”

The most recent ALC archived decisions are from 2016, the year after Bullock was replaced by former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard. After Leonard was appointed, secondary use rules were relaxed for areas of B.C. outside southern Vancouver Island, the South Coast and Okanagan regions where the vast majority of farm revenues are generated.

In the South Coast region, the main focus of development pressure since the ALR was established in the 1970s, decisions for 2016 show the opposite of Bullock’s description. For that year, there were 88 applications for secondary residences and subdivisions of farmland, and only 10 for excluding land.

ALC records also show that applications of all kinds have fallen significantly since the 1980s. The ALC reports that in the calendar year 2018, it received a total of 39 exclusion applications from all regions combined.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Come visit the cute little critters at Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center

Abbotsford centre holds annual open house on Aug. 24 and 25

Abbotsford Police ‘speed watchers’ are tops in province

Volunteers record highest increase in patrol hours in ICBC challenge

UPDATE: Abbotsford woman reported missing from Chilliwack has been found

Alexis Neill, 26, located safe and sound, police say

Event supports women’s centre that is at risk of having to move

Abbotsford women’s recovery program holds annual Victory Walk

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of robberies included convenience store in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

VIDEO: Organization’s stolen wheelchair van recovered on backroad near Hope

Wheelchair accessible van is only transportation for some people in Hope area

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Most Read