BC Agriculture Minister moving forward with changes to ALR
BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham confirms her government intends to abolish a two-zone Agricultural zone which opened a large portion of the province to more development on farm lands, a change that was opposed by agricultural groups.
Under the system the Fraser Valley, Okanagan and Southern Vancouver Island fall under zone one, where protection of agricultural land prevails; the second zone applies to the North, the Interior and the Kootenays, where it is easier to get land out of the reserve for economic, cultural, social, community planning and other reasons.
Popham calls the two-zone system a failed experiment.
The Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, Frank Leonard, says whatever happens, it's his job to make it work:
"As Chair of the Land Commission, which is a provincial tribunal, my role is to make the legislation work. So, right now we have 2 zones and 6 panels. And I oversee the operation to make sure we've fulfilled the mandate and the legislation. If the new government changes the legislation, then we'll do our best to make the new rules work. "
Leonard was appointed ALC Chair to oversee implementation of the 2-zone system. Former chair, Richard Bullock, has maintained he was fired by the BC Liberal government because he did not support the change, and they wanted him out of the way.