Kelowna Chamber of Commerce wary of new B.C. legislation for ALR

In a statement, the chamber president said it’s cautious about the new legislation

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is wary of new B.C. legislation that aims to protect agricultural land.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce spoke about the legislation under Bill 15 which was introduced in the House Thursday modifying Agricultural Land Commission governance in B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. farmers aren’t ‘persons’ under new agricultural land legislation

“While we wholeheartedly support the ongoing protection of farmland, we are cautious about moving decision-making out of the local area and out of the hands of individual farm owners. So long as there is solid regional representation – at least two people from the Okanagan remaining on the single commission – we can be supportive of changes to the ALC governance model,” said chamber president Carmen Sparg, in an emailed statement.

A key change to legislation is that only the province, local governments or “a prescribed public body” can apply to the newly reorganized ALC for an exclusion of farmland.

“In terms of taking away the ability of local landowners to apply directly for exclusions and moving that process to only local governments and First Nations governments, we remain cautious: generally our local municipality has worked well with landowners and the ALC, but those relationships need to be strengthened if the needs and interests of local agriculture are to be properly represented,” said Sparg.

“What’s truly important to us here in the Okanagan is the sustainability of our agricultural industry: from cattle to fowl, speciality artisanal products, our robust fruit and tree fruit industries, other farm crops for our local population and for markets around the world. Of equal and growing importance is the agri-tourism industry, growing every year, and often requiring innovative solutions where exclusions are required. We want any appointed commissioners to keep an open mind as our needs continue to evolve,” she said, in a statement.

READ MORE: B.C. tightening rules for farmland reserve exclusion applications

“There is a wealth of local knowledge here in the Okanagan concerning all aspects of agriculture. We want fair protection of our valuable land base now and into the future. Our Chamber has always been a strong supporter of local agriculture in Kelowna and the Okanagan, and we know how difficult it sometimes is for the farming community to get clear answers when it comes to land use, exclusions, and working with other government bodies on issues governed by ALC rules and principles.”

“Like any new legislation,” Sparg said, “there will be details to come, especially on how decisions are made and applied, and how power is exercised. We will encourage the newly organized ALC to continue to work closely with municipalities, as has generally happened in the past here with the City of Kelowna. We look forward to the details of the legislation once it is debated and adopted.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Realtor of massive house for sale says new ALR rules would hurt wealthy farmers

“We will be seeking further clarification from the Minister and corresponding regarding the issue,” she said.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Firefighters have doused a Peachland house fire

Fire crews are still on scene investigating the cause of the BBQ fire which made its way to the home

Special memorial service to say goodbye to murdered teen

A memorial service and celebratio of life was held Tuesday for murdered teen Elijah-Iain Beauregard

Wilson M. Beck Charity Golf Tournament in Kelowna benefiting YMCA of Okanagan

The tournament is sold out with 144 golfers swinging for the cause

Is construction in Kelowna hurting small businesses, or helping them?

Voices from both sides of the spectrum weigh in

Kelowna baseballers invited to league all-star game

The 2019 West Coast League All-Star Game will have two players from the Kelowna Falcons

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

False report of dead body leads police to sex dolls at Manning Park

Princeton RCMP breathed a sigh of relief, momentarily, when they discovered a… Continue reading

Ironman returns to Okanagan after seven-year absence

Subaru Ironman Canada is coming back to Penticton in 2020

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Okanagan College campus flies Syilx flag

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag was raised at a ceremony at Vernon campus on July 16

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Summerland clinic will be closed on August long weekend

Medical office assistant needed at Rosedale Medical Clinic

Most Read