Speak up to save the ALR

Former agriculture minister Corky Evans calls ALR an accident of timing

Former B.C. agriculture minister Corky Evans says he hopes people speak up to save the Agricultual Land Reserve as the current provincial government debates its future.

Corky Evans says this generation would not be able to create an agricultural land reserve in the face of high pressure from land developers in British Columbia.

“If we lose it now,” he told a gathering of local food producers and buyers at the Saanich Fairgrounds Monday morning, “it’s not coming back.”

Evans was B.C.’s minister of agriculture under the NDP government from 1996 to 2000 and has his own farm in the B.C. interior. He said he wants the debate to be non-partisan but added he knows that when he speaks on the issue, he will be tied by some to the NDP. That’s why, he told the audience, people have to speak up if they want to save the ALR.

“The ALR was an accident of timing,” Evans said, noting conditions were ripe in the early 1970s for it to take shape.

“I came 600 kilometers to speak to you, for if you speak up, no one can bust you for your philosophy.”

Evans said for the first time in 40 years, the philosophy of the ALR is under threat, not just the soil.

“Today’s government has decided to respond (to a Fraser Institute report on the ALR) and review the philosophy that land should be zoned for farming.”

That report, he continued, blamed the ALR for Vancouver’s high housing prices and suggested farming would be better if it took place outside of the province.

“Something is happening,” Evans said. “This is the moment that if we hold it together, the Fraser Institute’s attitude that it’ll be cheaper to grow (food) in Guatemala is going to die.”

He encouraged as many people as possible in the crowd to be on the lawn of the B.C. legislature on Feb. 10 at noon for a rally to support the ALR. That rally is being held to ask the province to leave the ALR alone, in the wake of media reports that the B.C. Liberals are including it in its core review.

Evans called the ALR a one-of-a-kind land policy in North America. He said it caused a lot of grief among farmers, fearful of losing their wealth when it was first introduced, it helped save land for farming today, when buying local food has become such a huge issue. He noted, however, change could be made to better support farmers — not just the land they work on.

While the ALR protects farm land in B.C., Evans said it doesn’t protect those who till the soil.

“We have the best defense for zoning of soil in North America, but the least support for the growing of food,” he stated, saying B.C. has shown the lowest financial returns from agriculture across the provinces for the last 20 years.

As a political veteran, Evans noted that the government’s job is to “survive today, not manage down the road.”

“It’s short-term, immediate and self-interested. It’s a different job than the Agricultural Land Commission, which has the job of worrying about our children and grandchildren.”

 

 

Just Posted

Feds kickstart Indigenous Guardians program with $5.7M in early funding

Part of $25M announcement from March to commit financial help for First Nations to remain stewards of their land

Victoria Curling Club, arena parking lot considered for new Crystal Pool location

Considering other vendors could cost Victoria first year of provincial and federal funding

City of Victoria to see 588 affordable housing units

Provincial funding is aiming to see 4,900 new mixed-income rental properties across B.C.

‘Crazy 8’s,’ Panthers win again

Game kicked off with an on-ice ceremony featuring 98-year-old WWII veteran Commander Peter Chance

Building permits up, but residential construction softening in Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria led the province in issuing new building permits in August

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Student arrested at Vancouver Island elementary school

Pupils never in danger, incident unrelated to the school

POLL: Have BC Ferry wiats ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

Racist slur cleaned off memorial at Qualicum First Nation graveyard

Site was hit by vandals on Friday; many immediately offered support and assistance

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Vancouver Island leadfoot clocked doing 143 km/h in an 80 km/h zone

Driver issued $483 ticket, has vehicle impounded after pinging RCMP radar in Lantzville

Most Read