EDITORIAL: ALC clearly out of touch

It’s increasingly obvious that the Agricultural Land Commission is focused more on bureaucracy and political correctness than it is in reality.

The provincial agency may be accurate when describing the 10 acres of land next to Okanagan College as having “very good agricultural capability.” But the commissioners should question why nothing but weeds have grown there for as long as anyone can remember. If the soil conditions are so good, why hasn’t the site been used for at least forage crops or grazing cattle?

And given the considerable financial resources that are required to install the necessary infrastructure — such as water lines — for an agricultural operation, it’s almost a given that the status of the land won’t change any time soon.

No one contests the need to protect farm land, but the property in question must be viable and there must actually be some history of agriculture there. With this particular site, neither of those factors are relevant.

The ALC adds insult to injury by labelling the need for a sports complex as “purported.” If there wasn’t a need, considerable time and effort wouldn’t have been wasted on the concept and an application for non-farm use wouldn’t have been made. Local officials on the ground have a far better understanding of our requirements than some government office.

It appears that the entire thrust of the ALC is to preserve all acreage in the Agricultural Land Reserve no matter how impractical and unrealistic that is.

Rhetoric is overruling sound decision-making and that is wrong.

– Vernon Morning Star