Local Food Security and the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)
After a winter of discontent over proposed changes to the ALR, a window of dialogue appears to be opening up. Since his appointment as Minister of Agriculture on April 11th, Norm Letnick has promised a review of the changes proposed in Bill 24. The legislation proposes splitting the province into two zones. For Zone 1, current restrictions on development would remain in the South Coast, the Okanagan, and Island regions. Zone 2, in the BC interior and northern region, would see significant changes in how decisions are made in removing lands from the ALR.
Following closer scrutiny of the bill, and a change of leadership at the BC Agriculture Council, the group representing 14,000 farm families, withdrew their support of the legislation. Minister Letnick then met with the BCAC ALR Steering Committee on April 23rd and promised to renew the consultation process for at least two or three weeks while he reconsiders the legislation. Bill Bennett, the Minister Responsible for Core Review, insists that the consultation will not change the legislation. http://ht.ly/w8ZaV
A Call to Action
Farmers, grass roots organizations, scientists, and academics have all weighed in on this issue. Consumers and supporters of local farmers, processors, and artisans can add their voices to growing chorus of opposition to Bill 24. You can contact Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, Premier Christy Clark, and Minister Bill Bennet and offer your opinion. email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com .
If you are a BC farmer or rancher you can provide direct input to the BCAC ALR Steering Committee by contacting your Director at firstname.lastname@example.org .