Editorial: Changes to land reserve step in right direction

First off, the ALR will be reunited into one.

The B.C. government announced this week that it is making changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve, and we think it’s a move in the right direction.

First off, the ALR will be reunited into one. In 2014 the previous Liberal government split the ALR into two zones. Zone 1 included the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. Rules for the land reserve in this zone, which included the Cowichan Valley, didn’t change. The rest of the province now fell into Zone 2, and that was a different story, with Cowichan farmers at least voicing their displeasure over the new rules.

Prior to 2014 the Agricultural Land Commission, which holds sway over the Reserve, had been tasked with making decisions about agricultural land with farming as the only priority. Under the new rules, in Zone 2, the ALC panels were could now consider urban and industrial development.

The late Bob Crawford, who in 2014 was the president of the Cowichan Agricultural Society, called it a “wedge”, designed to open up more farmland to development.

The new legislation introduced this week will also limit the size of homes that can be built on agricultural land, something that has become a real problem on the lower mainland, where mega-mansions have started to crop up on some of the province’s best farmland. With a 5,400 square foot limit on home size we hope those uninterested in farming will look elsewhere for property.

The government is also cracking down on dumping of construction waste, toxic waste and other fill on ALR land, which can do permanent damage.

This is all vital. Without the ALR we would have little farmland left. When the ALR was formed between 1974 and 1976, nearly 6,000 hectares of prime agricultural land were being lost each year to urban and other uses.

It’s not perfect. We are still uncomfortably at the mercy of world food exporters, but without the ability to grow at least some of our own food, thanks to the foresight of those who formed the ALR, we’d be in an even worse position.

Just Posted

Capitals refocus and win back to back at home

Cowichan beats Nanaimo and Salmon Arm

Coach Martin’s 200th win a big one for Cowichan LMG

Soccer team climbs to second in Div. 1 with win over Mid Isle

Will Arnold spearheads drive to clean up Duncan neighbourhood

Will Arnold offers a grim assessment of the community he has fallen… Continue reading

Editorial: We don’t think enough about our impacts on the world

Six eagles were killed, and six others were sickened after being poisoned.

New rowing centre may lead to solutions to Quamichan Lake’s algae problem

National focus could lead to more resources to deal with issue

VIDEO: Initiation hockey hosts year-end tourney at the Lake

Cowichan Lake hockey fans turn out in good numbers to support their smallest players

Coming up in Cowichan: Anti-pipeline meeting; women’s shelter open house

Public meeting in Duncan to support pipeline protests A public meeting has… Continue reading

Man pulls over to help injured owl, gets hit by SUV

Chase RCMP say owl flew away while they were on scene

VIDEO: Soon-to-be-extinct caribou moved to B.C. interior

The three caribou are being held in pens north of Revelstoke

B.C. cop who assaulted homeless man may avoid criminal record

Kamloops RCMP Const. Todd Henderson was charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm

Four B.C. students sent to hospital after school bus crash

Mission RCMP say hospitalization a precaution, 14 students were on board

B.C. dairy farmers say milk cup is half full in new Canada Food Guide

Despite what seems like a demotion, B.C. Dairy Association insists its inclusion is still integral

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Most Read