Agriculture Minister Lana Popham appointed a nine-member panel to consult and make recommendations on “revitalization” of the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

B.C. agriculture minister names committee to ‘revitalize’ ALR

Popham appoints nine farmers and agriculture policy experts to consult and make recommendations

Nine individuals from across the province who are involved in farming and agricultural policy are named to a new committee tasked with making recommendations to the provincial government on how to “revitalize” the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced the formation of the committee Jan. 4 that will host regional meetings, an online consultation process, and eventually develop recommendations for government to consider.

“I am proud and grateful to have attracted British Columbians with the knowledge, expertise, passion and experience that the committee members possess for agriculture,” Popham said in a press release.

“The ALR and the [Agricultural Land commission] are incredibly important to the health and economic well-being of our province’s future, and making it easier and more efficient for the commission to fulfill its mandate of protecting farmland and encouraging farming is a commitment the B.C. government is delivering on.”

Long a critic of the former BC Liberal policy on farmland, Popham has, in the past, promised to expand the ALR and conduct a boundary review to ascertain if the current zones under protection should be changed.

• RELATED: Chilliwack farmers in Victoria for B.C. Ag Day proclamation

While Popham has been critical of past government policy such as breaking the ALR into two zones, one of which opened up the protected areas to other economic activity, in October the new minister said the province would consider relaxing regulations to allow craft breweries operate on the ALR.

What exactly “revitalization” means in Thursday’s announcement is unclear, but in the coming months the committee will develop recommendations for the government.

• RELATED: One-size-fits-all farm home plate bylaw for Chilliwack sent back for changes

The Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee is tasked with providing “strategic advice, policy guidance, and recommendations on how to help revitalize the ALR and ALC to ensure the provincial goals of preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming and ranching in British Columbia continue to be a priority.”

The committee’s is to be chaired by Jennifer Dyson who has long been involved in big picture agriculture policy in B.C., sat on the ALC from 2008 to 2017, and runs a water buffalo dairy in the Alberni Valley.

Other board members along with Dyson include: Rosedale poultry farmer and Chilliwack city councillor Chris Kloot; Canada Research chair in food security and environment at the University of the Fraser Valley Lenore Newman; former Independent MLA for Delta South Vicki Huntington; Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band Byron Louis; retired ALC policy analyst Shaundehl Runka; Peace Region grain and oilseed farmer Irmi Critcher; Comox Valley farmer and agronomist Arzeena Hamir; and retired deputy CEO of the ALC, Brian Underhill.

Beginning in early 2018, the committee will: Share a consultation paper to seek opinions and feedback on revitalizing the ALR and ALC; host regional meetings to hear opinions and feedback directly from the local farming and ranching communities in Abbotsford, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Prince George; and open an online consultation process to seek public opinion.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Colwood tree bylaw causing problems

Arborist says bylaw unreasonable, puts homeowners at risk

Find out what the future holds for the West Shore

Chamber of commerce hosts annual Vision West Shore in February

Smell of pot plants sparks social media debate

A noticeable smell on Sooke Road has caught the attention of residents

Horgan indicates Highway 14 improvements coming soon

Premier says looming announcement part of much more coming for south coast connector

Community rallies behind Sooke boy with rare condition

Dozens called on government to cover cost of drug for six-year-old Landen Alexa

Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by Canadian immigrant

“This is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team

The rival Koreas took major steps toward reducing their bitter animosity

Canada, U.S. lead call for sanctions against North Korea

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announces engagement

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaged to clothing designer Gurkiran Kaur

Hijab-cutting case highlights ethical issues with putting kids in spotlight

A Toronto police investigation has concluded a girl’s hijab was not cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school

Change in politics, society on sexual misconduct ‘not fast enough,’ says Trudeau

Trudeau says society still lagging behind the systemic changes he is trying to make when it comes to preventing and responding to sexual harassment

Bank of Canada to make interest rate decision today

Economists widely believe that based on the economic environment, it’s likely interest rates will rise today

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

Most Read