Will agricultural land boundary review go ahead?

The Regional District of East Kootenay is seeking clarification from the B.C. government on a review of local agricultural land

The regional district is concerned that a review of the Agricultural Land Reserve’s boundaries in the East Kootenay may not be going ahead as planned.

On Friday, December 6, the Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors decided to put their concerns in a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm, and the Minister Responsible for the Core Review, Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

“We had heard rumour that the boundary review that was underway in Area A and was going to come this spring to Area B and C was postponed, was stopped – we didn’t know what the status of that was,” explained board chair Rob Gay.

“We have never seen anything official; staff has never received a report… Is it business as usual and can we expect it?”

The boundary review was announced by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), a Crown corporation that oversees the reserve, in May 2012.

ALC Chair Richard Bullock appeared at a RDEK meeting to tell the board that the commission planned to begin a review of the East Kootenay boundaries this fall.

The Agricultural Land Reserve was established in the 1970s to protect the erosion of B.C.’s agricultural land to urbanization. The boundaries encompass 4.7 million hectares of public and private land that may be farmed, forested or vacant. About five per cent of the province is inside the ALR.

Owners of property within the ALR are subject to land use rules that differ from the rest of the province. Because farming is deemed the priority for that property, non-agricultural uses are regulated. If the property owner wants to subdivide the land, use it for non-farm purposes or exclude it from the ALR, it needs approval by the ALC.

“They feel that (in) the Island, the Okanagan and the Lower Mainland, the boundaries are pretty accurate. Now it’s the southeast corner and the northeast corner where they would like to solidify the boundaries,” said Gay. “In our case, the boundaries are not correct in some areas, especially the steep slopes and rocky ground. It’s just from the way they did the survey. I look forward to them coming out and doing it.”

However, last month, the Globe and Mail leaked a letter written by Deputy Agricultural Minister Derek Sturko, asking commission chair Richard Bullock to suspend any decisions about adjusting reserve land boundaries in the East Kootenay region until the province’s core review of government operations is completed.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, who is the B.C. Minister Responsible for the Core Review, has since said that the ALC will not be dismantled or brought under the control of the Minister of Agriculture.

But the regional district board is still concerned what the core review means for the ALC and the East Kootenay boundary review.

“There had been discussions about moving it from a Crown corporation that is arms’ length from government to putting it back under the Ministry of Agriculture. It sounds like that isn’t going to happen but we don’t know for sure. We’ve seen so much different correspondence,” said Gay. “Those are the two points we want to make: the status of the commission and the status of the boundary review.”

With files from Canadian Press

Just Posted

Dave Corbould seeks a seat on Kimberley City Council

Although Dave Corbould hasn’t lived in Kimberley for very long, he is… Continue reading

Kimberley Dynamiters win two games on home ice

Josh Lockhart The Kimberley Dynamiters had a “false sense of achievement” weekend… Continue reading

Local business giving back to the community

Earth’s Own Naturals is donating money from membership fees to give directly back to the community.

Craig Janzen running for Kimberley City Council

Craig Janzen is running for Kimberley City Council and hopes to be… Continue reading

Jason McBain making run for Kimberley City Council

Jason McBain is home again in Kimberley, and he wants to be… Continue reading

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read