Further to the ALC review

ALC wants to hear from all concerned property owners at next week’s hearings

As reported in Monday’s Bulletin, the Agricultural Land Commission is doing a boundary review in the RDEK and some property owners have been notified that their properties may be pulled from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Area E Director Jane Walter said that she wasn’t quite sure what criteria the ALC was using to select properties.

Reed Bailey of the ALC says that it is not a process that is conducted arbitrarily.

“We follow quite a rigorous process,” he said. “We look at agricultural capability, parcel size, slope and topography, current use and zoning in official community plans.”

He said they also look at whether a property owner has applied for exclusion in the past.

“If there are a whole slew of exclusions in one area, that’s a red flag obviously. We haven’t been flooded with applications but we recognize that boundaries in the East Kootenay are not as accurate as other areas of the province.”

There are public meetings scheduled for next week, and Bailey says this is a good time to gain more information and give input.

“This project isn’t completed. It’s not a foregone conclusion. I’ve had a host of calls recently expressing both concern and support.”

The hearings are the place to express those concerns, he says.

“We will be going through each particular area and you will have an opportunity to step up to the mike and express your opinion. All comments will be taken under consideration.”

The proposal may be amended somewhat depending on comments received, he said. And in addition to people who received letters saying their properties were being considered for exclusion, he’d also like to hear from people who may think their property should be excluded but didn’t receive a letter.

Reed also added that although Director Walter felt that the ALC wasn’t working with the RDEK, that is in error.

“We have been in close contact with the RDEK planning staff. There’s been a lot of back and forth. They provided us with a lot of important property information. And we did drive through and look at properties.

“We drove through the area twice looking at virtually every single property identified for exclusion.”