Coldstream land changes harvest criticism

Opposition continues to crop up over proposed changes taking root on agricultural land in Coldstream.

Opposition continues to crop up over proposed changes taking root on agricultural land in Coldstream.

A Coldstream resident who has been in the agricultural industry for 40 years is questioning what Coldstream hopes to achieve with plans to limit small agricultural parcels.

“You eliminate the ability for someone to get into crops as a sideline,” Joel Allen told Coldstream councillors Monday.

With more people interested in eating locally-grown products, and considering the economy and that few people can actually afford large parcels of agricultural land, Allen urges the importance of keeping small parcels an option.

He also points out that there is already a well-established committee that regulates what land is best suited to be subdivided or removed from the agricultural land reserve (ALR).

“The Agricultural Land Commission has done a fantastic job for 40 years of regulating what land comes out of the land reserve.”

While Allen says Coldstream currently does not have a lot of five-acre parcels, one politician says that is definitely not the case.

“There are 824 parcels in the ALR,” said Coun. Maria Besso.

“Of those, 640 are under four hectares.

“It’s those larger parcels that we want to maintain. There’s a perception that there are a lot of small parcels out there. They’re actually many small parcels being farmed as one.”

The proposed changes to agricultural land have spurred significant interest and opposition, including from the Coldstream Acreage Owners’ Association.

Mayor Jim Garlick says any changes to the plan are on hold until a new planner is hired on at the district (an interim planner is currently in place).

“Then what we’ll be doing is look at these items again,” said Garlick, adding that public input will be sought and the district will explain why the proposed changes came about.

“That process is probably going to be happening in the fall.”