Rural Affairs Committee Meeting Open Meeting Agenda Date:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
RDCK Board Room, 202 Lakeside Dr., Nelson, BC
Director Andrew Shadrack Director Garry Jackman Director John Kettle Director Larry Binks Director Ramona Faust Director Ron Mickel Director Hans Cunningham Director Walter Popoff Director Gordon Zaitsoff Director Paul Peterson Director Andy Davidoff
Sangita Sudan Joe Chirico Uli Wolf Angela Lund Director Hillary Elliott Brian Carruthers
Directors will have the opportunity to participate in the meeting electronically. Proceedings are open to the public. Pages 1.
CALL TO ORDER
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA RECOMMENDATION: The agenda for the November 20, 2013 meeting be adopted as circulated.
PLANNING & BUILDING 3.1
BUILDING BYLAW CONTRAVENTION - HARDING
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File #: 3135-20-707.897900-E-BP20559 7791 Highway 3A Balfour (Kevin & Shayla Harding) Area E i) The Committee Report dated October 24, 2013 from Sam Ellison, Building/Plumbing Official, re: Building Bylaw Contravention for property legally described as Lot 1, District Lot 192, Kootenay District, Plan NEP19994 (Harding), has been received. RECOMMENDATION: The Secretary of the Regional District of Central Kootenay be directed to file a Notice at the Land Title Office in Kamloops, British Columbia, stating that a resolution has been made under Section 57 of the Community Charter by the Regional District Board relating to land at 7791 Highway 3A Balfour, Electoral Area E, currently owned by Kevin John Harding and Shayla Lynn Harding, legally described as Lot 1, District Lot 192, Kootenay District, Plan NEP19994, and that further information respecting the resolution may be inspected at the office of the Regional District of Central Kootenay on normal working days during regular office hours. 3.2
BUILDING BYLAW CONTRAVENTION - LEWIS File #: 3135-20-H-020299.500 BP6645 7776 Hansen Road, Winlaw, BC (Michael Lewis) Area H i) The Committee Report dated July 8, 2013 from Sam Ellison, Building/Plumbing Official, re: Building Bylaw Contravention for property legally described as Lot 1, District Lot 382, Kootenay District, Plan 9323, Except Part Included in Plan 10106 (Lewis), has been received.
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August 14, 2013 - Rural Affairs Committee
The Secretary of the Regional District of Central Kootenay be directed to file a Notice at the Land Title Office in Kamloops, British Columbia, stating that a resolution has been made under Section 57 of the Community Charter by the Regional District Board relating to land at 7776 Hansen Road, Electoral Area H, currently owned by Michael Lewis, legally described as Lot 1, District Lot 382, Kootenay District, Plan 9323, Except Part Included in Plan 10106, and that further information respecting the resolution may be inspected at the office of the Regional District of Central Kootenay on normal working days during regular office hours. BE DEFERRED for 90 days in order to allow Michael Lewis to comply with the Building Bylaw. RECOMMENDATION: The Secretary of the Regional District of Central Kootenay be directed to file a Notice at the Land Title Office in Kamloops, British Columbia, stating that a resolution has been made under Section 57 of the Community Charter by the Regional District Board relating to land at 7776 Hansen Road, Electoral Area H, currently owned by Michael Lewis, legally described as Lot 1, District Lot 382, Kootenay District, Plan 9323, Except Part Included in Plan 10106, and that further information respecting the resolution may be inspected at the office of the Regional District of Central Kootenay on normal working days during regular office hours. 3.3
BUILDING BYLAW CONTRAVENTION - MOORE File #: 3135-20-H-707.2031.900 8043 Lindsay Road, Slocan (Andrea & James Moore) Area H i) The Committee Report dated October 10, 2013 from Sam Ellison, Building/Plumbing Official, re: Building Bylaw Contravention for property
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legally described as Lot 2, District Lot 382, Kootenay District, Plan NEP83148 (Moore), has been received. RECOMMENDATION: The Secretary of the Regional District of Central Kootenay be directed to file a Notice at the Land Title Office in Kamloops, British Columbia, stating that a resolution has been made under Section 57 of the Community Charter by the Regional District Board relating to land at 8043 Lindsay Road, Electoral Area H, currently owned by Andrea and James Moore, legally described as Lot 2, District Lot 382, Kootenay District, Plan NEP83148, and that further information respecting the resolution may be inspected at the office of the Regional District of Central Kootenay on normal working days during regular office hours. 3.4
BUILDING BYLAW CONTRAVENTION - SPENCE File #: 3135-20-K-710.44000 BP3414 1643 Inonoaklin Valley Road (Larry & Bonnie-Lee Spence) Area K i) The Committee Report dated September 10, 2013 from Peter Southin, Building/Plumbing Official, re: Building Bylaw Contravention for property legally described as Parcel B (Reference Plan 69060I) of the SW 1/4 of the East 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of the West 1/2 of Section 12 Township 69, Kootenay District (Spence), has been received. RECOMMENDATION: The Secretary of the Regional District of Central Kootenay be directed to file a Notice at the Land Title Office in Kamloops, British Columbia, stating that a resolution has been made under Section 57 of the Community Charter by the Regional District Board relating to land at 1643 lnonoaklin Valley Road, Electoral Area K, currently owned by Larry Spence and Bonnie-Lee Spence, legally described as Parcel B (Reference Plan 690601) of the SW 1/4 of the East 1/2 of theSE 1/4 of the West 1/2 of Section 12 Township 69, Kootenay District, and that further information respecting the resolution may be inspected at the office of the Regional District of Central Kootenay on normal working
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days during regular office hours. 3.5
DEVELOPMENT VARIANCE PERMIT - DUMERAC File #: 4270-20-V1308C-04055.120 1415 Evans Road (Jacques Robat-Dumerac & Heidi Eichenberger) Area C i) The Committee Report dated November 7, 2013 from Meeri Durand, Project Planner, re: Development Variance Permit for property legally described as Lot 12, District Lot 1005, Kootenay District, Plan 14651, PID 3010-386-670 (Dumerac & Eichenberger), has been received. September 11, 2013 - Rural Affairs Committee
That a Development Variance Permit to BE CONDITIONALLY GRANTED PENDING RESOLUTION OF WATER LINE ISSUE to Jacques Robat-Dumerac and Heidi Eichenberger for property located at 1415 Evans Road in Electoral Area C and legally described as Lot 12, District Lot 1005, Kootenay District, Plan 14651 (PID 010-386-670) to vary Section 605(1) of RDCK Zoning Bylaw 1675 in order to allow for the front lot line setback for a proposed accessory building to be reduced from 7.5 metres to 3.9 metres, as measured from the leading edge of the roofline subject to issuance of a setback permit from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure BE DEFERRED to the October 15, 2013 Rural Affairs Committee meeting. RECOMMENDATION: That a Development Variance Permit BE ISSUED to Jacques RobatDumerac and Heidi Eichenberger for property located at 1415 Evans Road in Electoral Area C and legally described as Lot 12, District Lot 1005, Kootenay District, Plan 14651 (PID 010-386-670) to vary Section 605(1) of RDCK Zoning Bylaw 1675 in order to allow for the front lot line setback for a proposed accessory building to be reduced from 7.5 metres to 3.9 metres, as measured from the leading edge of the roofline subject to issuance of a setback permit from the Ministry of Transportation and
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Infrastructure and an increased setback from the interior lot line from 1.5 metres to 3.0 metres as agreed upon between the applicant and the Teetzel Creek Water User's Society. 3.6
DEVELOPMENT VARIANCE PERMIT - SCOTTIES
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File #: 4270-20-V1310J-07736.012 5520 Broadwater Road, Rural Castlegar (Lorne Imeson of Scotties Marina) Area J i) The Committee Report dated November 6, 2013 from Megan Squires, Planner, re: Development Variance Permit for property legally described as Lot A, District Lot 4599, Plan NEP22963 (PID 023-387378)(Scotties), has been received. RECOMMENDATION: That a Development Variance Pernit BE ISSUED to Lorne Imeson for property legally described as Lot A, District Lot 4599, Plan NEP22963 (PID 023-387-378) to vary Section 605(1) of RDCK Zoning Bylaw 1675, 2004 to reduce the front yard setback to Broadwater Road from 7.5 m to 4.03 m to address an existing non-conforming patio and wooden trellis, and to allow for an expansion of the roof over the existing front deck and entry way. 4.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES 4.1
UPDATE - COMMUNITY WORKS FUND CONTRACT AMENDMENT File #: 2230-20-1850 Contract Amendment
Staff will provide clarification in regards to the purchasing guidelines, tendering guidelines and RFP process at the January 15, 2014 Rural Affairs Committee meeting. October 15, 2013 - Rural Affairs Committee
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That the Community Works Fund Contract Amendment BE REFERRED to the November 20, 2013 Rural Affairs Committee meeting and that staff provides clarification in regards to the purchasing guidelines, tendering guidelines and RFP process. 4.2
COMMUNITY WORKS FUNDS APPLICATION - SALMO SQUARE BOILER REPLACEMENT PROJECT
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File #: 1850-20-CW-81 Boiler Replacement Project Budget Amendment Area G i) The Committee Report dated November 6, 2013 from Nicole Ward, Sustainability Coordinator, re: Community Works Funding - Salmo Square Boiler Replacement Project Budget Amendment, has been received. RECOMMENDATION: That the budget amendment for Community Works Fund project 185020-CW-81 the SALMO SQUARE BOILER REPLACEMENT project in the amount of $3,030.29 BE APPROVED for disbursement from Community Works Funds allocated to Electoral Area G for the year 2013. 5.
No Items 6.
RURAL ADMINISTRATION 6.1
NOXIOUS INSECT CONTROL BYLAWS No. 2374, 2013 & 2375, File #: 3200-20-2374 & 3200-20-2375 Area B & C i) The Committee Report dated October 28, 2013 from Randy Matheson, Research Analyst re: Noxious Insect Control Bylaws, has been received. October 15, 2013 - Rural Affairs Committee
That Bylaw 2374 and 2375, 2013 BE REFERRED to the November 20,
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2013 Rural Affairs Committee meeting. RECOMMENDATION: That it be recommended to the Regional District of Central Kootenay Board that: 1. Regional District of Central Kootenay Noxious Insect and Pest Control Service Establishment Bylaw No. 2374, 2013 is hereby read a FIRST, SECOND and THIRD time by content. RECOMMENDATION: 2. Regional District of Central Kootenay Noxious Insect and Pest Infestation Control Service Establishment Bylaw No. 2375, 2013 is hereby read a FIRST, SECOND and THIRD time by content. 6.2
DISCUSSION ITEM - BC GOVERNMENT CORE REVIEW
Director Faust, Area E, has provided the Rural Affairs Committee with correspondence in regards to the BC Governments Core Review to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for discussion. i) The correspondence received from BC Food System Network re: The Core Review promises changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) & the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), has been received. ii) The article written by The Globe and Mail re: 'Sacrosanct' Agricultural Land Commission eyed for breakup, has been received. iii) The media release received from BC Food System Network re: BC Food Systems Network shocked by changes BC government proposes for ALR and ALC, has been received. iv) The media background information received from BC Food System Network re: Media background regarding BC Governments proposal for the ALR and ALC, has been received. RECOMMENDATION:
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That the Regional District of Central Kootenay write a letter to Honourable Pat Pimm, Honourable Bill Bennett and Premier Christy Clark reaffirming its support for the preservation of farmlands and its opposition to changes proposed in the Core Review to the Provinceâ€™s Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission; AND FURTHER, that copies of the letter to be sent to other Regional Districts within the province. RECOMMENDATION: That the Regional District of Central Kootenay submits a resolution to UBCM that reads as follows: Whereas the Province of BC has a strong agricultural history and is experiencing a resurgence in agri-tourism and market farming as economic drivers; Be it resolved that the Regional District of Central Kootenay requests the Province to sustain the present system for the Agriculture Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission to preserve farmlands. 6.2.1
ADDITIONAL CORRESPONDENCE - ALC
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i) The email from Director Andy Davidoff, Area I re: RAC Motion Proposed ALC Changes, has been received. ii) The correspondence from Director Andy Davidoff, Area I re: About the Agricultural Land Commission, has been received. 6.3
DISCUSSION ITEM - BC RURAL NETWORK
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Director Popoff would like to discuss if the Rural Affairs Committee would be interested in applying for a membership to the BC Rural Network. i) The membership application form for the BC Rural Network, has been received. 7.
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John Southam, Building Manager, will speak on the subject of graded lumber. i) Background information on concurrent authority for building regulation and the RDCK procedural policy on the use of lumber in buildings, has been received for information. 8.
ADJOURNMENT RECOMMENDATION: The meeting be adjourned at ______
More responsibilities for local government with no consultation or support? The Core Review promises changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) Have you been consulted about the changes requested of the Minister of Agriculture and proposed by the Core Review?
The Fraser Institute says dismantle it. The Premier seems to think it isn’t working for BC. The Minister of Agriculture has been directed to examine it closely and “propose any changes necessary,” and the Minister Responsible for the Core Review has announced that changes to the ALR and ALC are a top priority for the i current provincial government.
What happens to the ALR and the ALC directly affects you and your constituents. The ALR is a major provincial zone, tied to your government’s interpretation of agricultural zoning and its related bylaws and land use plans. Any changes to the ALC’s authorities and powers imply changes for local governments’ authorities and powers, affecting your ability to plan for your region. Not just what the Province intends to do, but how it intends to do it – and who it expects to fund the changes – are central questions for your Council and Regional District.
Change is coming for the ALR and the ALC. This represents a major shift in policy at the Ministry of Agriculture and in the provincial government more generally. The 2013-14 Ministry of Agriculture Service Plan identifies work under way at the ALC to make the Commission more effective and to better define ALR boundaries. According to a recent report from the ALC Chair, this work, which was endorsed by the Province and supported by a 3ii year budget increase, is progressing well.
The ALR is important for British Columbia. The ALR is intended to preserve agricultural land, encourage farming and assist local governments and First Nations in planning for agriculture in their regions. The principle on which the ALR rests is that a productive, secure agricultural land base is vital to BC’s ability to maintain agriculture as a viable industry and to secure our food supply. The ALR provides a means for protecting that capability and ensuring BC’s agricultural businesses and farm families are supported over the long term.
Nonetheless, in August, the Minister Responsible for Core Review, Honourable Bill Bennett, expressed generalized frustration with the ALR on behalf of landowners who want to develop lands for non-agricultural purposes. He also identified adjustments to the ALR as an early Core Review target. The Core Review’s terms of reference, published on 24 September, indicated that public input could be provided to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in its September-October hearings around BC. Unfortunately, the invitation was published after the hearings had started.
If the ALR did not already exist, now would be the time to invent it. Economic, environmental and social instability and pressures on the province’s farmland are many times greater now iii than they were when the ALR was created.
Providing for input to the Core Review without proper notice and prior to tabling any proposals from the process does not serve British Columbians well. The Committee accepted comments until 16 October. No further opportunities for local government or public input to the Core Review have been identified.
Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress (2004), summarized the key message of his book regarding the collapse of civilizations as: “Don’t build on your agricultural land. Don’t build on your agricultural land. Don’t build on your agricultural land.”
For further information: www.fooddemocracy.org Brent Mansfield, Co-Chair, ph: 604.837.7667 / email: email@example.com Linda Geggie, Policy Working Group Chair, ph: 250.896.7004 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BC has 40 years of ALR study and experience to discuss.
What other local governments are saying: City of Vancouver, 22 October resolution
There are strong arguments for the benefits of the ALR. Economic studies suggest that the ALR has been successful in containing urban sprawl and mitigating rising farmland values, helping to ensure that land remains available and affordable for BC’s farm families and farming businesses. Research has also shown that agriculture contributes strongly to regional economies, and that converting agricultural lands to other uses often costs more in services iv than it produces in municipal tax revenues.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: • Council reaffirms its support for the preservation of farmland in the Province's Agricultural Land Reserve • Council work with Metro Vancouver and other municipalities to advocate for the Province of British Columbia to identify further opportunities to enhance the viability of farming in the Province. • Council advocate that, if another review of the ALR and ALC is deemed important by the provincial government, a substantially longer period for input be afforded to the public.
According to SmartGrowth BC, “the ALR has been successful in mitigating [the] constant threat of incremental urban encroachment onto agricultural land by maintaining decision making at the provincial rather than the local level ... this is in direct contrast to virtually all other jurisdictions in North America where decisions on agricultural land use have been made at the local level and thus have been much more v susceptible to development pressure.”
The full text of the resolution is at http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20131 022/documents/motionb1.pdf Sunshine Coast Regional District, 10 October minutes INFORM THE BC GOVERNMENT THAT: • The SCRD wishes to be a part of the targeted consultation during the Mandate Review process • The protection of farmland is a fundamental element of a sustainable future in British Columbia and a reduction of the effectiveness of the ALR is not an effective means of saving money for the provincial government • The foundation of any economy is the ability to produce food • Speculation in agricultural land for future development is driving up the cost of agricultural land, threatening farming businesses in B.C. and B.C.’s food sovereignty. Preservation of farmland by removal of speculation and reinforcing the ALC and preservation of the ALR for food production is an important contribution to the B.C. economy
After forty years’ shared experience of farmland protection in BC, local governments deserve to be given the opportunity to discuss any proposed changes to the ALR with the Province and the ALC. There can be productive examination of long-standing issues, such as non-farm use and farm succession, without compromising the integrity of the provincial system and the ALC’s current reform efforts. Act TODAY to make your concerns known. 1. Contact your MLA, the Premier, and Ministers Bill Bennett and Pat Pimm to ask for an opportunity to discuss changes to the ALR and ALC beyond those already approved by government as outlined in the ALC Chair’s report. Copy the rest of Cabinet and the UBCM on your letters or emails.
The full text of the resolution is at http://www.scrd.ca/files/File/Administration/Minut es/2013/2013-OCT-10%20BRD%20Minutes.pdf i
Core Review terms of reference: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_20132017/2013MEM0014-001465.htm ii ALC Chair’s report: https://www.google.ca/#q= agricultural+land+commission iii BCFSN submission to Finance and Government Services Committee: http://fooddemocracy.org/what-we-do/protectingthe-agriculture-land-reserve/ iv Cost of community services studies, American Farmland Trust www.farmland.org v SmartGrowth BC, Position on the ALR: http://www.smartgrowth.bc.ca/Portals/0/Downloads/SGBCAL Rposition.PDF
2. Discuss this matter with your Council or Regional District and pass a resolution expressing your views. As for item 1 above, copy the UBCM, the Premier and the Ministers on your resolution.
For further information: www.fooddemocracy.org Brent Mansfield, Co-Chair, ph: 604.837.7667 / email: email@example.com Linda Geggie, Policy Working Group Chair, ph: 250.896.7004 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 684 Nelson, BC V1L 5R4 www.fooddemocracy.org email@example.com
BC Food Systems Network shocked by changes BC government proposes for ALR and ALC FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - “We are stunned that changes of this magnitude would be proposed behind closed doors in government,” says a shocked Brent Mansfield, Co-Chair of the BC Food Systems Network, earlier today. “We agree with Mark Hume’s analysis that this proposal will dismantle the Agricultural Land Commission, and along with it, the Agricultural Land Reserve.” The BC Food Systems Network includes hundreds of members and organizations representing farmers, food producers, health promoters, and community food organizations around British Columbia who are concerned with farming and food security in the province. Hume’s story Sacrosanct Agricultural Land Commission eyed for breakup in today’s Globe and Mail states that the BC government is proposing to open up over 50% of BC’s protected farmland to development, to neuter the ALC by removing its powers, and to download decision-making authority on farmland to local governments and the Oil and Gas Commission. “That’s our farming and food security gone, right there,” says Mansfield. “If you change its farmland protection mandate and take away its provincial focus and its independence, you make the Agricultural Land Commission powerless and ineffective. Then, even if you say – as the Minister did – that you want to protect farmland and farming, you won’t be able to. Development interests of all kinds will win, in the short term, every time. And we lose our focus on the long term.” Mansfield also questions whether farmers, ranchers, local governments - or the ALC itself - have been consulted about these proposals. “Splitting the ALR into two zones and handing most of the exclusion decisions north and east of the Okanagan to local government and the Oil and Gas Commission will have significant fallout for those directly affected,” Mansfield points out. “Is this a proposal coming out of excitement about oil and gas? Why should agriculture, which after all is a sustainable industry, be pushed aside for an extractive industry? Agriculture in BC provides almost 62,000 jobs and brings $11.7 billion in revenue per year into BC. Some areas, like direct sales to consumers, have grown by 147% in just over five years (from $46 million in 2006 to $113 million in 2012).” As well as questioning the magnitude of these proposals with their disturbing implications for the future of farmland protection, Mansfield questions the timing. “Two reviews – by the Auditor General and by the ALC Chair – were conducted in 2010, and the Chair recently reported that the boundary review work and other improvements were on track,” Mansfield points out. “The proposals Mr Hume is reporting sweep those changes away.” Mansfield concludes: “It is beyond comprehension to the BCFSN that decisions of this magnitude are happening behind closed doors. We have been raising ALR and ALC concerns with the Province since September. We were told – by MLAs and by the Premier – that there would be plenty of opportunities for public input to the Core Review. Where are they? What we and other stakeholders need, if any changes are proposed for the ALR and ALC, is a full, transparent and comprehensive public consultation process.” -
For further information, contact: Brent Mansfield - firstname.lastname@example.org * Tel 604.837.7667 Linda Geggie - email@example.com * Tel 250.896.7004 Backgrounder to follow under separate cover
Media backgrounder to support BCFSN news release from 7 November 2013 Regarding BC Government proposals for the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) INTRODUCTION This material was prepared by the Policy Working Group of the BC Food Systems Network as a resource for media and other interested parties regarding the Agricultural Land Commission and Agricultural Land Reserve in British Columbia. It is part of the BCFSN’s response to reports of a Cabinet proposal from the Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Pat Pimm, to introduce significant changes to the ALC and ALR. SUMMARY 1. 2. 3.
The rationale for farmland protection through a province-wide Agricultural Land Reserve is stronger today than ever before. A land reserve will only work if its administrative body is province-wide, independent and quasijudicial, as the Agricultural Land Commission is today. If the Province is considering any major changes to the ALR or ALC, there needs to be full and transparent public consultation with all affected parties, particularly farmers, ranchers, food advocates, property holders, and local governments.
THE RESERVE The Minister Responsible for Core Review, Honourable Bill Bennett, is quoted as saying “There is nothing that we would contemplate that would reduce or undermine the central principle of the Agricultural Land Reserve, which is the protection of farmland and the sustainability of farming.” While the Minister makes this assertion, the reported proposals would be detrimental to farmland protection. 1.
What is the history of the ALR? The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was established in BC in 1973. In the ensuing 40 years it has become known in North America and around the world as a forward-thinking and effective planning tool. It is the envy of policymakers in many other jurisdictions.1
What was the founding rationale for farmland protection in BC? BC’s farmland is scarce – it accounts for less than 5% of the provincial land base – and it is highly vulnerable to development and degradation. Local governments may be unwilling or unable to protect it, so we need a province-wide strategy and mechanism: the ALR, a zoning tool based on soil and climatic potential, with an independent body to administer it.
History of the ALR • Synopsis from ALC http://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/publications/Alr_history.htm • Forever Farmland by Charles Campbell http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2006/DSF-ALR-final3.pdf • A Work in Progress by Barry Smith http://www.smartgrowth.bc.ca/Portals/0/Downloads/AWorkinProgress_Smith.pdf;
2013-11-08 BCFSN media backgrounder re ALR and ALC 92* Page 1
What is today’s rationale for farmland protection in BC? • If the ALR did not already exist, now would be the time to create it. Amid an existing and expanding global food crisis, the ALR plays a vital role in delivering food security to British Columbians.2 • By protecting farmland for farming, the ALR is the foundation of the provincial agri-food economy which provides key contributions to provincial employment and GDP. • Pressures on British Columbia’s farmland have increased exponentially. Amid increasing speculation in land and growing concern around the emergence of a farmland bubble, the ALR keeps agricultural land prices within the reach of farmers and ranchers and food prices within the reach of consumers. In the last five years, according to Farm Credit Canada’s Farmland Values reports, farmland values in BC have increased 5% versus 38% for Alberta, 80% for Saskatchewan, 60% for Manitoba, 71% for Ontario and 63% for Canada as a whole.3 • By serving as a crucial mechanism for mitigating the effects of climate change, the ALR helps to ensure a sustainable future for BC and its residents. In short, a prudent government thinking of the long term would err on the side of farmland protection, today more than ever.
Why emphasize agriculture? What is its value for the province? Apart from its obvious value of producing essential goods, BC’s agri-food sector is an important driver of the provincial economy. In 2012, BC's agriculture, fisheries and processing sectors provided almost 62,000 jobs and $11.7 billion in annual revenue.4 Some areas, like direct sales to consumers, have grown by 147% in just over five years (from $46 million to $113 million between 2006 and 2012.)5 Moreover, unlike extractive industries, agriculture can be sustainable. Given that diversity is a hallmark of sustainability, BC is well favoured with a highly diverse agricultural sector producing over 200 commodities.
What results have we seen from 40 years of the ALR? • The ALR has effectively preserved agricultural land for current and future food production. Removals from the ALR have slowed loss of farmland to the point that the overall amount of farmland in the reserve has stayed just over 4.6 million hectares. • The ALR has served as an effective growth management mechanism.6 By holding the line around farmland, the ALR contributes to the reduction of urban sprawl and related development and costs (such as roads). Other jurisdictions in Canada and North America envy BC for this. • The ALR has mitigated the rapid rise in farmland values that have been observed in several other Canadian provinces in recent years. Given current speculatory pressures, weakening or dismantling the ALR will lead to a rapid inflation in farmland prices, making it difficult for existing
Global trends • Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions: Strengthening BC’s Agriculture Sector in the Face of Climate Challenge http://pics.uvic.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Strengthening%20BC's%20Agriculture%20Sector_0.pdf • Welcome to Dystopia: Entering a long-term and politically dangerous food crisis, Jeremy Grantham http://f2cfnd.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/09/GMOQ2Letter.pdf • UN Conference on Trade and Development Report, 2013 http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tdr2013_en.pdf • Climate change draft report predicts war, heat waves, starvation http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/climate-change-draftreport-predicts-war-heat-waves-starvation-1.2350352 3 http://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/Products/Property/FLV/Spring2013/) 4 https://www.google.ca/#q=bc+agrifoods+a+strategy+for+growth 5 http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/resources/subpage/economic-and-social-benefits-study 6 Smart Growth BC position statement on the ALR http://www.smartgrowth.bc.ca/Portals/0/Downloads/SGBCALRposition.PDF
2013-11-08 BCFSN media backgrounder re ALR and ALC 93* Page 2
farmers to expand their operations, preventing new farmers from entering the sector, and hampering the process of farm succession. 6.
What is the primary activity and group the ALR is intended to protect? • Farming, and farmers and ranchers. This is about them. About 98% of the province’s roughly 20,000 farms and ranches are family owned and operated. The 2011 agriculture census showed a 0.4% decrease in the number of census farms in BC, as opposed to the national average decrease of 10.3%. BC is staying almost stable in number of farmers, unlike the national trend: we had a 0.2% increase in the number of farm operators between 2006 and 2011. In 2012 there was an 8% growth in farm receipts from crops and a 7% growth in the livestock sector. • The ALR’s relationship to farming is complex – the ALR has enhanced farming in some ways, such as by keeping taxes low, while it has hampered farming in some other ways, such as by restricting farm-related business activities on farms. Soil classification is useful but it is not the only land indicator for farm success, nor does the highest quality soil necessarily equate to the most important or valuable farmland or farm. If government really wants to look at the purposes and benefits of the ALR, it must seek the views of farmers and ranchers.
The Globe and Mail suggests the Province is considering two classes of ALR, one in the Fraser Valley, Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island, and everything north and east of the Okanagan in another. 7.
How is ALR land distributed in BC? ALR land currently breaks down regionally as follows. The Okanagan (5%), Fraser Valley (4%) and Vancouver Island (2%) account for a total of 11% of the ALR in BC. The remaining 89% is made up of the Interior (31%), Kootenays (8%) and North (50%). In the 40 years since the ALR was created, about 90% of the land added to the ALR has been in the north and 72% of the land lost has been in the south. Under the two classes approach, this means 89% of existing ALR land will be put at risk in the majority of the province east and north of the Okanagan, and the remaining 11% will remain under heavy pressure, as it is now. This has negative implications for BC’s food security.
What is the rationale for proposing a separation? The argument put forward is that lands east and north of the Okanagan are often not useful for agriculture or needed more for other economic purposes. In terms of agriculture, ranchlands are just as important as valley bottoms. We need the whole province and a full suite of land types to meet our dietary needs. Our variety is our strength. We have had 40 years of adjustments, and if there are areas and boundaries that still need to be reviewed, the ALC has the history, the expertise and the big picture to understand how all types of land contribute to food production in BC.
What British Columbians need The Province must retain the ALR as one zone for the whole province. If changes are to be considered, the government must conduct a public consultation process with particular reference to farmers and ranchers - recognizing their scheduling needs – regarding how the ALR can more effectively serve them. This should include consideration of additional measures and resources for the Ministry of Agriculture, such as restoring extension services.
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THE COMMISSION 9.
What is the mandate of the Agricultural Land Commission? The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is a provincial administrative tribunal that reports to the Minister of Agriculture. Its purposes are (1) to preserve agricultural land; (2) to encourage farming in collaboration with other communities of interest; and (3) to encourage local governments, First Nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies. In other words, its job is to put agriculture first.
The Minister proposes to modernize the ALC by widening its mandate to include economic development, and to move its staff into the Ministry of Agriculture. This fails to recognize the economic contributions of agriculture to the province and will destroy the effectiveness of the ALC, and with it, the ALR. 10. What would absorption into the Ministry do to the ALC’s effectiveness? • This will render the ALC ineffective. The ALC’s capabilities stem from the fact that it operates province-wide, is independent of government, and has the powers and status of an administrative tribunal. For the Province to change any one of those four characteristics - its mandate or its provincial, independent, quasi-judicial status – will mean the ALC will be unable to protect farmland. And the ALR (our precious farmland) will disappear, piece by piece. • When speaking to the proposal in radio interviews on 7 November, the Minister Responsible for Core Review, Honourable Bill Bennett, said that the government has no interest in having elected people or bureaucrats making decisions about exclusions and that those had better be done with panels. But if those ALC panels are in the Ministry of Agriculture (or even at arm’s length with their decisions interpreted by the Ministry), they will be subject to the Minister’s direction. So the “elected people” can be brought in to influence decisions at will. • Minister Bennett also commented on the government’s wish for Agencies, Boards and Commissions to be more “people friendly” and to “give reasons for their decisions,” possibly a recommendation for more transparency. The ALC already posts all its decisions on its website. In one particularly notable decision from August 2013 regarding an application for a rodeo ground in the Peace River,7 which the ALC turned down, the report on the decision describes the pressure brought to bear on ALC officials by local and provincial elected officials. It is notable that the ALC was moved to detail this behaviour in its decision report and also to issue a policy statement concerning the role of elected officials in applications to the ALC.8 The proposal suggests that authority would be delegated away from the ALC to the Oil and Gas Commission. 11. What is the relationship between the two Commissions? There is currently an agreement between the Oil and Gas Commission and the Agricultural Land Commission that outlines how the two bodies will collaborate to ensure that both their interests 7 8
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can be accommodated. Both interests are important and are not inevitably incompatible. It does not serve BC’s long-term food security public interest to remove agriculture from that equation. The ALC must sit at the decision-making table. Mitigation and compensation measures for agriculture for lands used for oil and gas purposes must be firmly in place and adhered to. The proposal suggests that authority would be delegated away from the ALC to local governments. 12. What would be the effects of community growth decisions being made by local governments? • Delegation of community growth applications to local governments will, for a number of reasons, lead to the death of farmland protection by a thousand cuts. • The ALR takes precedence over most other public interest considerations on Classes 1 to 5 soils. It is subject only to the Environmental Management Act and a few other laws. That means that the priority of maintaining and protecting farmland is paramount. Decisions about that landscape are most appropriately made by an independent tribunal that is taking regional specifics into account. And most importantly, the decisions must be divorced from local politics about land ownership and development potential. This has been one of the greatest strengths of the ALR - keeping the discussion about farming and farmland and not about urban potential or highest and best use. The Commission’s view is that the highest and best use of our scarce farmland is agriculture. • At the same time it is important to recognize that the ALC works closely with local governments and takes long-range community interests into account. This can be seen from the track record of its decisions.9 Also, over the last 40 years the ALC and local governments have been collaborating in the production of local government agriculture plans which complement Official Community Plans. Currently BC has 52 agriculture plans in place.10 Many of them express strong support in principle for the ALR. • Municipalities that often come under undue pressure from developers with deep pockets have been able to rely on a provincial body that runs interference for them by adjudicating farmland exclusion applications. Municipalities will likely not welcome a download of this responsibility. • Interestingly, research shows that despite the promised benefits, levies and taxes usually fail to recover the long-term costs of urban development. On the other hand, agricultural land is a net benefit to a municipal balance sheet because it costs less to service it. • Most (over 90%) of the exclusion applications the ALC receives today are from property owners who are not farmers. These are land owners who knowingly bought ALR land and now want to realize benefits for non-agricultural purposes. If they are allowed to do this, the many landowners who have lived with and upheld the ALR over the past 40 years will be unfairly disadvantaged. Speculators, on the other hand, will be rewarded. 13. Has the ALC been consulted about the proposed changes? Despite its considerable expertise and experience, the ALC has not been consulted. The ALC has deep knowledge of the dynamics described above, and considerable expertise in managing farmland exclusion requests and working with local governments and First Nations on planning for agriculture. For the Province to ignore the expertise of the Chair, Commissioners and staff is
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inappropriate and an insult to their 40 years of effort and dedication for the protection of farmland in the public interest. 14. Why are further changes being proposed at this time? Are they needed? What is peculiar is not just the magnitude of the proposed changes, which effectively would dismantle the ALC and ALR as we know them, but that the changes represent a significant shift in direction. The ALC has been on course to clarify ALR boundaries, make the organization more proactive, and increase its enforcement abilities: in other words, to strengthen the ALR. This approach was supported by the Province, as shown in its current guiding documents (Ministry of Agriculture Service Plan11) and in its budget, at least up to the start of this fiscal year. The ALC Chair in his 4 October 2013 report outlines how he is following through with commitments made after a review by the Auditor General in 2010 and his own review later that year. The Cabinet proposal overturns all this, without public consultation. What British Columbians need The Province must retain the ALC as a province-wide, independent, quasi-judicial body. It should be allowed to get on with its work as outlined in the commitments made under the 2010 reviews by the Auditor General and the ALC Chair. If further changes are to be considered, the government must conduct a public consultation process with the ALC and those affected by its decisions. THE CONSULTATION PROCESS 15. What consultation opportunities has government offered regarding these changes? The proposed changes are non-trivial and there has effectively been no public consultation. The proposed changes are significant in that a major change to the mandate and makeup of the ALC will inevitably affect the ALR. This in turn impacts farmers, ranchers, food advocates, property holders, and local governments. The more people affected, the greater the need for adequate consultation. It is not clear whether these changes are emerging from the Core Review, since they were signed by the Minister of Agriculture. However, the Minister Responsible for Core Review is speaking to them now and has made comments in the past about the ALR and ALC being up for scrutiny. The only avenue for public input to the Core Review was announced on 24 September, through the budget hearings held by the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in September and October 2013. By the time of the announcement, one hearing had already taken place. When the BC Food Systems Network presenters went to the hearing in Victoria on 26 September, the Committee members did not know they had been written into the Core Reviewâ€™s terms of reference. Opportunities for public input through the Committee ceased when its hearings were completed on 16 October. The BC Food Systems Network has been assured verbally, on two occasions, first by the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, and also by the Premier, that there will be lots of opportunities for input about the ALR and ALC into the Core Review process.
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However, we have written three letters, to the Premier and Ministers Pimm and Bennett, to ask what these opportunities will be, and we have not yet received a reply. 16. What do we know of public opinion regarding farmland protection in BC? Public opinion favours farmland protection for BC. In a 2008 Ipsos Reid Poll12, 91% of British Columbians from across the Province responded that “It is important that BC produce enough food so we don’t have to depend on imports from other places” and 95% of respondents said they support the ALR and the policy of preserving farm land. When asked about acceptable reasons for removing land from the ALR, 61% of respondents said there were no acceptable reasons. What British Columbians need If the Province wants to propose major changes to the farmland protection system, it should do so inclusively, fully, and openly, through a managed public consultation process. We have all learned from 40 years of living and working with the ALR and ALC. Those of us who have a case for farmland protection should be heard, as much as those who do not consider it a priority. WHO WE ARE The BC Food Systems Network (www.fooddemocracy.org) includes hundreds of members in over 20 organizations representing farmers, food producers, health promoters, and community food organizations around British Columbia who are concerned with farming and food security in the province. Follow us on Facebook: ALR Watch https://www.facebook.com/alrwatch and Twitter @ALRWatch https://twitter.com/ALRwatch For further information, contact: Brent Mansfield - firstname.lastname@example.org * Tel 604.837.7667 Linda Geggie - email@example.com * Tel 250.896.7004
12 Public opinion polls Ipsos Reid December 2008: http://www.iafbc.ca/publications_and_resources/documents/PublicOpinionPoll_Results.pdf CBC-Ipsos Reid poll September 2008: Acceptable reasons for removing land from ALR http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/feelingtheheat/poll-results-Q8.html#flashcontent
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Angela Lund From: Sent: To: Subject:
firstname.lastname@example.org November-12-13 11:34 AM GRP_Directors_Rural; Brian Carruthers; Anitra Winje; Angela Lund; Aimee Watson RAC Motion re Proposed ALC Changes
Hans et al, The more I read, analyse and try to comprehend the BC Government's proposals (machinations) to improve the functioning (dismantling) of the authority of the ALC, the more I believe we (RAC) need to consider the following emergent recommendation to our Board at our next RAC meeting: "The Regional District of Central Kootenay's Board of Directors adamantly opposes any government proposal or action to diminish or to transfer any portion of the current authority of the Agricultural Land Commission to the BC Oil and Gas�� Commission or any other entity without a comprehensive local government and public consultation process." Could you please ensure it is on our RAC agenda? I will make the motion and recommend it be sent to the ALC, and appropriate government ministers, etc. TY Andy2 Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry
About the Agricultural Land Commission http://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/commission/alc_main.htm Our Mission ... Preserve agricultural land and encourage and enable farm businesses throughout British Columbia. The Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is an independent Provincial agency responsible for administering the Province's land use zone in favour of agriculture. The purpose of the Commission is ď‚ˇ ď‚ˇ ď‚ˇ
to preserve agricultural land; to encourage farming in collaboration with other communities of interest; and to encourage local governments, First Nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies.
Vision A provincial agricultural land reserve system that fosters economic, environmental and social sustainability. The Commission expects to achieve its mission through the realization of its four complementary goals: 1. Preservation of agricultural land. 2. The encouragement and enabling of farm businesses. 3. A provincial land reserve system that considers community interests. 4. Sound governance and organizational excellence. Agriculture's fiscal contribution to local government The Commission is responsible for the administration of the Agricultural Land Commission Act.