Letter: Former ALR chair shares opinions, insights

Bullock detailed the reasons for being fired by the government.

To the editor:

Richard Bullock’s talk on Fri., April 1 about his life as chairman of the Agricultural Land Commission was quite informative. He detailed the reasons for being fired by the government.

He said that he stood against building the site C dam as well he strongly opposed Bill 24. This Bill allows fracking on ALR land in the Peace River.

Economic conditions can now have equal weight as food production on agricultural land when considering its use. The proposed Site C dam was given its approval without permission from the ALC as it was never asked, even though it floods deep pristine agricultural soil. { with free energy machines coming out this year, many using neodymium magnets, we may not need it}

Some history was noted. The Agricultural Land Reserve was started with WAC Bennett when he asked that a report be done by Shelford/Peterson on preserving farm land. When the NDP came into power, just after, huge rallies were held against the Agricultural Land Reserve because of the fact farmers were losing their rights. It was only when the government guaranteed their income or price for their food did they back down.

This guarantee was quickly removed with the change of government.

He said that because of the recent change to the Land Commission, real-estate developers are buying up large tracts of land in the hope that they can get it rezoned with the new rules.

The new CEO’s name is Kim Grout and he feels she will be under a huge amount of pressure to kowtow to speculators. He wondered how or why the City of Kelowna allows ALR owners to set up RV parks on their land?

I wonder why prices are so low to fruit grower? The price of Gala’s ‘ is 10-20% of the retail price where in some countries, farmers are protected and get 50%. This is much lower than the cost of production and no wonder one sees empty fields and horses grazing.

Our Agriculture Minister is busy getting free trade agreements signed which usually takes away even more government support from farmers. These agreements allow other countries to dump excess fruit into our countries at prices lower than our cost of production. Canadian costs of production are higher than say US costs but the free trade agreements don’t or won’t allow this consideration.

ALR property is now being used to grow non-food to stay financially viable. Take wine for instance, children will begin to ask “What food group is that in mommy?’’ And now there is free wine tasting with 4-5 drinks given in each winery. One sees buses of people going from one of the 120 wineries in the Okanagan to another and by the time the afternoon ends, one might as well call them drinking establishments. How can there be much time for serious thought when much of our time it is on wine?

Farlie Paynter, Weat Kelowna