Central Saanich is showing its support for the Agricultural Land Commission and the Agricultual Land Reserve.
A core review on B.C.’s government operations has been taking place including a review of the ALC. At the beginning of November, a memo was leaked to national media regarding a proposal to strip the powers of the ALC and the ALR.
During a council meeting on Nov. 18, Councillor Alicia Cormier put forward a motion to reaffirm the municipality’s support for the commission and the land reserve.
“Farms and rural non-farm holdings comprise over 70 per cent of Central Saanich’s land base and farming is considered a fundamental activity that defines the character and local culture within Central Saanich,” said Cormier.
“Food and agriculture support the health and well-being of Peninsula residents and increasingly, locally-produced food is being seen as one solution to mounting environmental problems such as climate change.”
Cormier’s motion resolved that the municipality request that the Provincial Core Review process protects and enhances the ALR and ALC in support of mutual objectives. This, to protect the District’s supply of agricultural land and promote agricultural viability as well as see that the province reconfirm the 2013 budget commitment to provide the ALC an additional $4 million over three years to support the ALC in providing better oversight over the ALR. That also includes working with local governments to encourage farming.
“I’m not going to be supporting this motion for a number of reasons,” said Coun. Carl Jensen during the meeting.
“My question is, why wouldn’t we look at putting this motion up through the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the Union of B.C. Municipalities?”
Cormier said that passing the motion doesn’t prevent the municipality from bringing the notice to AVICC as well.
“I just think it’s too early in the process, we’re essentially trying to tell them how to run their consultation and I think it will reduce effectiveness of what were asking. I don’t disagree with the motion, I disagree with the strategy. We need to be strategic of how we bring this forward to the province,” said Jensen.
Coun. Ryan Windsor moved an amendment that was carried that will see the document sent to the AVICC regardless.
Cormier’s amended motion was carried with Councillor Jensen in opposition.