The Globe and Mail released a government document that carries the signature line of Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm. It outlines major changes proposed for the Agricultural Land Commission, an independent body that is intended to protect farmland in B.C.
Here is the document as per the Globe and Mail:
Cabinet Decision Summary Sheet
Issue: Agricultural Land Reserve
The Agricultural Land Commission legislative mandate is too narrow to allow decisions that align with the priority for economic development.
Modernize the ALC to ensure that government’s priorities for economic development are reflected in ALC decisions, and to improve service levels for applicants.
- Develop the necessary policy, regulatory and legislative amendments to:
- Modernize ALC decision making to reflect government priorities.
- Create two ALR areas with different rules.
- Change the ALC’s legislative mandate, in one or both ALR areas
- Remove some decisions from the ALC.
- Community growth applications decided by local governments.
- Modernize ALC operations by moving the ALC into the Ministry.
– Honorable Pat Pimm
A second document was not on government letterhead. It contained additional information and sources say it appears to be an accurate summary of the government’s proposals.
Cabinet is days away from considering the Core Review’s proposal on the Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission.
The proposed changes, if approved, will:
1) Dismantle the Agricultural Land Commission – staff and their functions will move into the Ministry of Agriculture. There will be regional panels but decisions will be able to be appealed to a third party and overturned.
2) Change the mandate of the ALC – the ALC will be required to give equal weight to economic development as well as agriculture.
3) Create two classes of ALR – one area will be status quo – this will be the Okanagan and Fraser Valley-Vancouver Island. The other area will cover the Interior, Kootenays and everything north of the Okanagan, where the rules will be “anything goes.”
4) Change what local governments can and can’t do around land use decisions.
5) Make oil and gas decisions the priority land use decisions and the Oil and Gas Commission the primary authority.