Mayor Stew Young makes a point during Tuesday discussion about taking properties out of the agricultural land reserve.

Langford will ask for properties’ removal from ALR

Mayor wants to see farming to be carried on where it makes sense

A special meeting to discuss the exclusion of four parcels of land in Langford near Happy Valley and Latoria roads from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) lasted less than 10 minutes, with council voting to ask the province’s Agricultural Land Commission for their removal.

The committee recommendation being considered stated that any parcels being taken out of the ALR and rezoned should require the owners to pay the city $13.45 per square metre, to be contributed to an agricultural reserve fund for use as a benefit to agriculture, as described in Langford’s official community plan.

Langford resident Bea McKenzie was one of three members of the public in attendance at the Tuesday meeting. When asked for public input she was quick to her feet.

“I feel that there should be no loss to the ALR,” she said, “it’s been preserved this long.”

After the meeting McKenzie voiced concern about the future of farming in Langford.

“I believe that the ALR was a very good thing that was set up to preserve land for future farming,” she said. McKenzie added that local food should come from local growers, but it can’t in Langford because there isn’t enough land in the ALR in Langford. “We need to protect our farmland,” she said.

Of Langford’s 244 acres in the ALR, only three to four acres are being actively farmed according to Matthew Baldwin, director of planning. Only about 60 per cent of that land is deemed farmable, however, the definition of what was considered farmable was up for debate during the meeting.

Afterward, however, Mayor Stew Young was clear on his thoughts on the matter.

“When I walk the properties, I kind of feel for these people,” he said. “Three-quarters of some of the properties … aren’t even farmable and never would be,” he said. “You’d never spend the money to cut the trees down, level the rock, bring in soil – what’s the point?”

The provincial government hasn’t addressed such properties through the ALR, Young added. “The Province has just said ‘it’s ALR, that’s it.’ Let’s cut the rhetoric of ‘let’s save the farm land.’ Let’s actually look at it.”

The mayor has bigger plans for the future of the ALR in the Langford area.

“Ideally, what Langford is trying to do is get the farmland, us own it, and it’ll be just like having a park –  a farm-park.” The intent, he said, would be to create a farming co-operative in which the land could be leased out on a long-term basis, and crops identified that would be best suited for specific pieces of property.

The city could not realistically afford to buy the 150 or so acres that was deemed farmable, he said, but though rezoning and gifts from landowners to the community, the idea becomes much more feasible.

“Everyone has to take an open mind to it,” Young said. “Our mandate is to actually get real farmland, and get it out there and put it into a co-op. I’d like to see 50 acres under cultivation with the support of our community.”

Ultimately, the province’s Agricultural Land Commission still decides what land comes out of the ALR, and getting council’s approval is just the first step in a long process. It’s a  process Young hopes to make easier for municipalities like Langford that are interested in removing a number of properties.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Flat tire, kindness of strangers, surprisingly inflate hope

Sooke mom and her daughters knocked on door of Bob and Norma Saunders seeking help

Health Canada suspends Island pot producer’s licence following unannounced visit

Evergreen Medicinal Supply is working on “corrective action”

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Oak Bay grants 60 days of protection for century-old mansion

J.W. Morris House slated for removal by Abstract Developments

Saanich police ask for public’s help locating missing high risk youth

The 12-year-old was last seen before school on Monday morning

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Sooke athletes win gold at 55+ Games

Myrtle Acton, 86, leads way with three first place finishes

Most Read