Former Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock. (Jeff Nagel/Black Press Media)

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Former B.C. Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock has come out in favour of the NDP government’s changes to commission rules, arguing that the farmland protection organization is facing too many applications for exclusion.

Richard Bullock was fired by the B.C. Liberal government in 2015 after he resisted their use of regional panels to decide on secondary uses and land exclusion applications. Bullock sent a letter to Black Press Media Monday, supporting the latest changes tabled by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham to eliminate the regional panels and make property owners apply through their local government, rather than directly after local government input.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals axe Agricultural Land Commission chair

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

“Having reviewed the proposed legislation and read the media coverage, as I understand it, individual landowners will continue to be able to apply for subdivision and non-farm uses in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR),” Bullock wrote. “During my tenure, and I believe it is still the case today, [subdivision and non-farm use applications are] a very low proportion of applications to the ALC, less than 10 per cent.

“As chair, I observe that the large majority of the exclusion applications were not from farmers and ranchers but instead from folks looking to make a substantial gain from paving over good agricultural land.”

The most recent ALC archived decisions are from 2016, the year after Bullock was replaced by former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard. After Leonard was appointed, secondary use rules were relaxed for areas of B.C. outside southern Vancouver Island, the South Coast and Okanagan regions where the vast majority of farm revenues are generated.

In the South Coast region, the main focus of development pressure since the ALR was established in the 1970s, decisions for 2016 show the opposite of Bullock’s description. For that year, there were 88 applications for secondary residences and subdivisions of farmland, and only 10 for excluding land.

ALC records also show that applications of all kinds have fallen significantly since the 1980s. The ALC reports that in the calendar year 2018, it received a total of 39 exclusion applications from all regions combined.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Exhausted Rossland skateboard volunteers pass torch to city council

Organization asks council to take over project

Rossland council split on arena fix

Rossland council approves band-aid for arena, while its future is debated

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read