LETTER: Protect the ALR, ‘we can’t eat oil’

I had never given much thought to the ALR. Honestly, I took it for granted because it’s just common sense to protect farmland.

I had never given much thought to the ALR. Honestly, I took it for granted because it’s just common sense to protect the farmland which feeds us, period.

The ALR town hall meeting in Nelson saw a room packed with people who care about food. Why? Because the BC government is moving to divide and weaken the ALR.

The ALR was set up because farmers were concerned with the rapid loss of farmland in BC. It became the election issue of 1973, and voila, the ALR and its governing body the ALC were born. The ALR protects farming in BC by keeping the price of land low provided it is used to grow food. This is no small feat. As Corky Evans said, “If we hadn’t seen fit to pass the law protecting farmland in 1973 there is no way we could manage to do so now. It was possible then to consider such a vision, policy and law. It is almost unfathomable today to imagine a government, anywhere, achieving a similar objective”.

In BC, only five per cent of the land is arable and it is under constant pressure from a variety of non farming interests. Governments of all stripes have lent a sympathetic ear to real estate developers, energy development and other interests which have whittled away at the ALR. Prior to 1973, 6,000 hectares of farmland were lost annually. Under the ALR, that has slowed to less than 500 hectares per year.

Today, we have more reason than ever to protect our farms. Public support for the ALR has been consistently strong. In 2008, 95 per cent of respondents (2008 Ipsos Reid Poll12) said they support the ALR preserving farm land.

Climate change is wreaking havoc with global weather systems which have a direct impact on growing food. Presently, California is experiencing a severe water shortage. What will we eat if they cannot produce enough for export?

Farmers’ markets and locally produced food and products are wildly popular, sales growing by leaps and bounds. This benefits farmers, consumers, local and provincial coffers.

The Liberal Government’s proposal to divide and weaken the ALR is presumably to ease the way for resource development in the north. Farming and gas extraction cannot occupy the same piece of land. Once the oil and gas industry gets its hands on it, it’s no longer good for farming. We can’t eat oil.

Review the ALR if you must, but only to strengthen it. This is the only logical conclusion.

Ann Remnant


Just Posted

Recycling subsidy means tax break for RDCK residents

Province steps in to fund newsprint recycling

Nelson searches for answers to fentanyl crisis

A packed event Wednesday featured seven speakers and plenty of questions

Police ask city for $100K budget increase

The extra money is needed to cover salary costs

Nelson firefighter wage negotiations in year six

Firefighting is an essential service, so strikes are illegal

EcoSociety asks city to become 100 per cent renewable

The plan would have Nelson ditch fossil fuels by 2050

Nelson homes found without working smoke alarms

Fire chief Len MacCharles says his members found 21 homes in need of alarms

COLUMN: Let’s keep your money circulating in the region

Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson on buying locally

Doug Bothamley Cash Spiel returns this weekend

The annual tournament runs Friday to Sunday at the Nelson Curling Centre

COLUMN: Taking another look at Kelowna

Columnist Donna Macdonald finds many things to love about the city Nelsonites love to hate

Earthquake gently rocks Nelson to sleep

Did you feel the earthquake? (Probably not)

RDCK holds open house on proposed boat launch

RDCK hosted an open house at Blewett Elementary to discuss plans for a boat launch at Taghum Beach

LVR Bombers volleyball team off to provincials

The senior girls’ squad secured a spot with a win over Trail last week

Most Read