BC Liberals Pat Pimm and Blair Lekstrom have proposed a delegation agreement for the Peace River Valley, a move that is intended to free them of political responsibility for development of the fertile farmland in a region that represents 1/3 of British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve, and effectively deprives the taxpayers of voters of British Columbia from any say in what happens to the farmland.
Shortly after getting elected, the BC Liberals entered into a delegation agreement with the oil and gas industry that has allowed the industry to engage in natural gas exploration that has effectively poisoned large areas of ground water with no deference to the people, livestock or wildlife that rely on those water resources, despite the fact that many areas of BC’s interior, Kootenays, Cariboo and norther region already experience drought conditions that may likely increase as a result of global warming.
When the Agricultural Land Reserve was created in 1973, the Agricultural Land Commission was created a provincial body to relieve farmland from the direct pressures imposed upon local governments by local industries and developers. The BC Liberals have slashed the ALC’s budget by more than 1/3, robbing the Commission of the staff and resources to deal with the increasing flood of applications resulting from Cabinet’s signals that BC’s farmland is available for the taking. With diminishing resources to do its job well, the ALC sees in such delegation agreements an opportunity to hand off some of its work. By handing power back to local governments or special interests, delegation agreements effectively reverse the safeguards put in place in 1973 to preserve BC’s farmland for the food security of future generations.
The proposal by Pimm and Lekstrom is sure to send chills down the spines of the people of the Peace River Valley and farmland and food security advocates across British Columbia.
Campaign Director, Farmland Defence League of BC
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