Amendments to how the Agricultural Land Reserve is managed are not good enough for local politicians.
The Regional District of North Okanagan board is expressing opposition to the provincial government’s ALR model, even though Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick introduced some changes to the process Tuesday.
“They’re trying to put more power into local panels and they are subject more to local pressures and politics,” said director Bob Fleming, who questions the ability of those making land use decisions to be independent.
Director Mike Macnabb also has similar concerns.
“We have to keep pushing to prevent the local panel situation,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick defends the amendments to the proposed legislation.
“The amendments allow the Agricultural Land Commission chair or regional panel to refer applications to the ALC’s executive committee, if the chair determines that a decision could have substantial impact on the ALR,” said Letnick, who is MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country.
The executive committee consists of the chairperson and the six vice-chairpersons, one from each region.
Letnick added that criteria will be clearly defined and could include applications with inter-regional significance, major land or large infrastructure considerations, new types of applications that have not been considered before or when the local panel determines it is best heard by the provincial committee.
Along with concerns about ALR panels, the RDNO board will tell the provincial government that there needs to be more support for agriculture and the issue of meat inspection regulations must be resolved.
— with files from Black Press reporter Alistair Waters