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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Burns Lake breaks temperature records amid cold snap

It’s no surprise that the ongoing blast of winter broke a handful… Continue reading

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Coastal GasLink repeats desire for meeting with hereditary chiefs

Coastal GasLink says they’re ready to meet with the hereditary chiefs at their convenience

Ranning Charlie acquitted of all charges

The charges included sexual assault

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Most Read