A story in the Globe and Mail last week, based on leaked documents, caused quite a stir among those who consider preservation of farmland to be a top priority.
The report suggested that in a “core review,” the B.C. government was looking at dismantling the Agricultural Land Commission, which oversees the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Also apparently raised in the document was the concept of dividing the ALR into two zones – one for southwestern B.C., and the other for the Interior and north.
The minister in charge of the government’s review was quick to deny any intention of dissembling the ALC, or to have it overruled by the Oil and Gas Commission.
That scenario was raised by some in light of issues between the two land use agencies in regard to oil and gas exploration and extraction in the northern reaches of the province.
Bennett maintained the Globe story is based on an old document, and that agricultural land commissioners will continue to decide on applications to amend the land reserve, established 40 years ago to protect farmland from development.
We find it hard to believe this government – or any other for that matter – would be so foolhardy as to attempt to dramatically tamper with something so important to the public, and the province.
To do so would be political suicide.
Is the ALR perfect? No. Could some re-evaluation be made on some unfarmable lands in the Interior and north? Yes.
In that context, we’ll be interested to learn what the core review finds and recommends.
However, the government now is on the record that it stands firm behind the Agricultural Land Reserve and the commission that oversees it.
That will not be forgotten.