By: Korie Marshall

The Ministry of Agriculture has begun consultations with farmers and the public on proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Commission Act.

The government says the consultations will inform the drafting of regulations for Bill 24. Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick recently met with representatives from the BC Agriculture Council, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the Agricultural Land Commission to discuss the consultation process. Based on their feedback, 11 questions were identified as key areas for consultation.

The government says the questions focus on identifying what steps can be taken to balance our desire to protect valuable farmland and further support farming families and the farming sector. According to the engagement website, the ministry is specifically looking for guidance on some proposed additional activities that could be allowed Agricultural Land Reserve land without an application to the Agricultural Land Commission; whether and to what extent these allowable uses should vary between different regions of the province, and what parameters should be put around proposed new uses.

The government is inviting the public to review the 20-page discussion paper and submit their ideas and comments by noon on August 22 at www.engage.gov.bc.ca/landreserve, by email to ALCA_feedback@gov.bc.ca, or by mail to ALR Reg Consultation, PO Box 9120 Stn. Provincial Government, Victoria BC, V8W 9B4. The government says the input will be summarized and presented to the minister’s reference group (made up of the BC Agricultural Council, UBCM and ALC representatives) for further discussion before being presented to government for consideration.