Front Row CJ Rhodes, senior councilor with Mayor Sue McKortoff (right)
Back Row Kuldeep Dhaliwal, Myers Bennett, Jim King, Brian Harvey and Claude Moreira.
Farmland is for farming
Legislation introduced on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, makes it clear that land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is for farming and ranching in British Columbia, not for dumping construction waste or building mega-mansions.
“The old government let wealthy speculators drive the price of farmland out of reach for young farmers and allowed some of our most valuable agricultural land to be damaged,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We are protecting farmland in B.C. to ensure land is available now and for future generations of farmers, so people in British Columbia have a safe, secure supply of locally grown food on their tables for years to come.”
If passed, Bill 52, the agricultural land commission amendment act, 2018, will strengthen protections for B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve. The proposed legislation makes three key changes:
* Restoring the integrity of the ALR by reinstating one zone for all ALR land in B.C., making it clear that all land in the ALR benefits from the same strong protections.
* Addressing mega-mansions and speculation in the ALR by limiting new house sizes to less than 500 square metres [about 5,400 square feet], except through application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) in cases where it would support farming; and requiring an ALC approval of any additional residences in the ALR to curb non-farm development.
* Cracking down on the dumping of construction debris, toxic waste and other fill in the ALR that can irreparably damage arable soil on valuable farmland, through increased penalties.
The legislative changes will help stop damaging practices that contaminate farmland and make farms unaffordable for new farmers, and threaten the short-term and long-term viability of the ALR. They are designed to protect the province’s farmland so British Columbians can access locally grown food, and communities and local economies can prosper through farming, ranching and agriculture businesses, such as B.C.’s growing food-processing sector.
“I am thrilled that the government is acting decisively to stem speculation on farmland,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North. “The ALR is vital to our local food security and for realizing B.C.’s economic opportunities in the agricultural sector. I look forward to working further with government to find more ways to support B.C. farmers and protect our agricultural land.”
The bill is part of the government’s ongoing commitment to revitalize the ALR and the ALC. The new legislation will advance several recommendations in the independent report released by the Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee.
“Agriculture drives prosperity in communities throughout B.C., and we are fortunate that 45 years ago the Province had the foresight to protect B.C.’s best and most capable agricultural land,” said Popham. “In an era where food security is a growing global issue, our legislative changes intend to protect ALR land for its highest and best use – agricultural production.”
The ALR was established in 1973 to protect land with prime agricultural conditions for farming and ranching. It currently protects approximately 4.6 million hectares of agriculturally suitable land in British Columbia. The ALR is administered by the ALC, an independent tribunal mandated to preserve agricultural land and encourage farming on agricultural land.
Stan Vander Waal, president, BC Agriculture Council –
“BC Agriculture Council is pleased that the ministry continues working with us to ensure farmland is available for farmers to farm and believes the proposed changes will continue to strengthen the Agricultural Land Reserve. We are happy to see the return to one zone and trust that future administrative changes to the Agricultural Land Commission will continue to be reviewed with BC Agriculture Council, which understands the unique needs of farmers and ranchers in B.C.”
Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association –
“In order for the ALR to function as it was intended to, it is important that the priority be to preserve the land as much as possible for food production while protecting the rights and profitability of those who are producing the food. The proposed changes should help the ALC better manage those goals.”
Jennifer Dyson, chair, Agricultural Land Commission –
“Mega-homes and lifestyle estates preclude land from being used by agriculture ever again. These large-scale residences for non-farmers impede agriculture, drive speculation and further erode the land base. A farmer will not be able to afford to purchase these properties with the value of just the home in the millions.”
Lin and Oliver Egan, Edible Acres Farm, Windermere –
“Farming and local food security are important everywhere in British Columbia. Having one zone in the Agriculture Land Reserve, with the same rules in place for all the land within in it, is essential for the future of small-scale diversified farming. We believe this will allow for a more local, sustainable food system moving forward. We ourselves produce over 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables here in the East Kootenay region, which is proof that good quality farmland is precious wherever it is and deserves equal protection.”
Chris Thoreau, BC seed security program director, FarmFolk CityFolk –
“People don’t realize that the damage caused when they accept illegal waste on their farmland is forever and lasts long after the money they’ve been paid for the fill has been spent. The dumping of construction waste in the ALR has been destroying farmland in the Lower Mainland since the housing boom, and it is really good news to hear that there are actually going to be penalties that mean something.”
* The ALR includes over 4.7 million hectares of B.C. that are preserved for agricultural use, less than 5% of B.C.’s total land base.
* B.C. farmers produce 48% of the food British Columbians consume, according to B.C.’s Food Self-Reliance report (2007).
* Farm cash receipts were $3.2 billion in 2017, up by 4% over the previous year.
* More than 22,000 people earn their livelihood directly from the primary agriculture sector.
* Land in the ALR falls into one of seven soil classes, ranging from Class 1 (wide range of crops can be grown without difficulty) to Class 7 (unsuitable for soil-based agriculture or sustained grazing, suitable for barns, greenhouses and processing facilities).
* Currently, 10% of the land in the ALR produces 85% of B.C.’s farm receipts, and 3% of ALR land in the South Coast region produces 65% of the province’s farm receipts.
The election for Mayor and Councillors had a voter turnout of 38.67% (1,593 of a possible 4,210 eligible electors).
Voter turnout in previous elections:
38.67 % in 2018
42.37 % in 2014
40.00 % in 2011
46.51 % in 2008
57.17 % in 2005
There were a total of 187 ballots cast at the first Advance Voting, 307 ballots cast at the second Advance Voting, and 1,099 ballots cast at the General Voting for a total of 1,593. There was a total of 16 spoiled ballots from all three dates and all ballots have been accounted for.
Sue McKortoff re-elected as Mayor for the Town of Osoyoos
CJ Rhodes and Jim King re-elected with new comers: Myers Bennett/Brian Harvey elected as Councillors
Newcomer – Kuldeep Dhaliwal and Claude Moreira ( on council for 29 years ) elected by acclamation as Water Councillors
We are inviting performers of all ages to join the “Holly Jolly Oliver!” community concert on Sunday November 25 at the Venables Theatre.
Singers, dancers, musical groups, spoken word performers, magicians, clowns, and other entertainers are welcome to submit their request to enter. The concert is eclectic, celebrating the many aspects of the festival season from Diwali to New Year, whether sacred or winter-themed.
With all proceeds going to the Oliver Food Bank, and performers kept to an 8-minute (or 3 song) maximum, participants are asked to donate their time and talent. However, the concert provides terrific exposure for participants the arts council will advertise any upcoming gigs performers have scheduled.
To request a performance slot, submit the performer’s name, the title(s) of the selections, their performance length, and any staging requirements (e.g. sound, lighting, props, instruments or mp3), along with contact information to OliverCAC@gmail.com or contact 250-498-0183 for more information. Deadline is November 14 but avoid disappointment by entering early. Backup selections are recommended so there is no duplication of acts. Performers will be given an opportunity for a short stage and sound check.
Holly Jolly Oliver is being produced by arts council director Andrea Furlan. The programme’s final lineup and order of performances will be determined by the Holly Jolly Oliver committee, to maximize diversity and entertainment value.
It was a full house and, once again, the community came out in full force to support a local fundraiser.
With this money, we can now ensure that more kids in Osoyoos and Oliver get a chance to participate in sports and school activities. They won’t be left out due to financial constraints.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone who came to the night, the businesses and organizations who donated prizes, and volunteers at the event.
The Spirit of the Game Society is truly grateful for the support of everyone.
Notice of withdrawal of claim filed October 23, 2018 by Canadian Wetlands against owners of Strata K-669 Park Place