Despite a leaked proposal by the provincial government proposing to dismantle the Agricultural Land Commission, Comox Valley MLA Don McRae said nothing has been presented to cabinet.
The former agriculture minister noted the document, which has current Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm seeking to modernize the ALC to ensure government’s priorities for economic development are reflected in ALC decisions, was a draft document.
“He did assure me though that whatever was leaked to the media last week was a draft document and in no shape represents the final document that he intends to bring forward,” McRae explained. “However, nothing has been brought forward to cabinet, caucus yet at this stage.”
He added while he is a “big supporter” of the ALC and Agricultural Land Reserve, there are many times in government when ideas are talked about between ministers.
“Some things happen, and some things don’t, but it’s important to always have that conversation about how you want government to evolve and serve the people of British Columbia.”
The proposal seeks to create two Agricultural Land Reserve areas with different regulations, change the ALC’s legislative mandate along with have community growth applications decided by local government.
In a second document, one change could see creating two classes of ALR — a status quo Okanagan and Fraser Valley-Vancouver Island and Interior, and a Kootenays and north of the Okanagan class, where rules will be “anything goes.”
The document also suggests making oil and gas decisions the priority land use decision and the Oil and Gas Commission the primary authority.
The ALC, which was established in 1973, is responsible for preserving and protecting the province’s farmland. It conducts land use planning in partnership with local communities, evaluates applications for the use of land in the ALR, and encourages farming as a basis for a sustainable economy and a secure source of food.
The ALR comprises five per cent of B.C’s land mass, or 4.7 million hectares.