Agriculture gets back seat to rodeo grounds in provincial politics

It should be no surprise then, that Pimm and the B.C. government would seek to put the ALC out to pasture…

British Columbians can be forgiven for believing their provincial government may not be entirely sincere when they claim to support local agriculture.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett stirred up suspicion a while back when he hinted the Agricultural Land Commission may be looked at in a core review he’s heading up to find $50 million in savings. The future of the ALC, the independent body tasked with overseeing the protection of agricultural land, became increasingly cloudy last week when cabinet documents leaked to the media were made public. These were reported to reveal a strategy drawn up for Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm to bring the ALC under the ministry’s jurisdiction and break up the province into two agricultural zones, including a vast northern zone where the province’s Oil and Gas Commission would have greater say in applications to remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Bennett has denied all of this, stating there are no plans to do away with the ALC and noting the current budget includes $4 million to help the ALC make better decisions when determining what is good agricultural land. Ironically, Pimm is now under fire for attempting to interfere with the ALC for doing just that.

The agriculture minister, a former oil and gas man of 25 years, tried to intervene in an application to turn a parcel of viable farmland in the ALR into rodeo grounds and a campground. Pimm and his staff contacted the ALC on more than one occasion during the decision-making process to support the application, arguing the land should be removed from the ALR. The commission turned down the application and, in its decision, took the Peace River North MLA to task, suggesting he was trying to politically influence their decision.

It should be no surprise then, that Pimm and the B.C. government would seek to put the ALC out to pasture and open up the ALR to a future where local food security ranks even lower than rodeo grounds, never mind liquid natural gas extraction.

 

Just Posted

Salmon Arm RCMP seeking car involved in hit and run

Small blue car struck a young man near Okanagan Avenue and 20 Street Monday

Shuswap homing pigeon in need of new abode

Carrier pigeon wearing outdated identification band takes up residence in Yankee Flats

Dog control ramping up on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO taking extra precautions to ensure dogs remain on leash

Phone scam uses false RCMP ID on call display

North Okanagan RCMP say there are applications that allow people to change, hide call display info

Fears that speculation tax, if imposed, could kill Shuswap tourism

Regional district directors wrestle with concern of seasonal residents leaving the area

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Most Read