The Cariboo Regional District is forwarding a report from the North Cariboo Agricultural Development Advisory Committee to the Province with regards to Bill 52 and the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Black Press file photo)

Cariboo Regional District providing input on Bill 52 ALR changes

At the Jan. 17 board meeting, the CRD also signed a North Cariboo MOU with the City of Quesnel

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) board of directors is weighing in on recent changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

At its Jan. 17 meeting in Williams Lake, the board addressed sending feedback to the provincial government on the recent changes regarding the Agricultural Land Reserve, specifically Bill 52. In November 2019, the board asked its North Cariboo Agricultural Development Advisory Committee (ADAC) to provide feedback on the changes. The committee submitted a report with their comments, and the board will be forwarding this report directly to the Province.

The ADAC report addresses three critical issues impacting the ALR:

1. Ending the proliferation of large mansions and lifestyle estates in the ALR, which inflate land prices and place agricultural land out of the reach of current and new farmers and ranchers;

2. Ending the dumping of illegal fill in the ALR through clear, stringent rules that ensure the ALC has the necessary information and enforcement tools to monitor and ensure compliance with limits on fill placement and soil removal in the ALR; and

3. Ending the “two-zone” artificial separation of the ALR for improved decision making and protection of this vital provincial land reserve across the province for the benefit of agricultural production

The ADAC members agree with the changes in Bill 52 regarding ending the proliferation of large mansions and lifestyle estates in the ALR.

The members also agree with the changes in Bill 52 related to ending the dumping of illegal fill in the ALR.

The ADAC had much more to say about the third issue.

“While the ADAC agrees with ending the ‘two-zone’ separation of the ALR for improved decision making and protection of this vital provincial land reserve, it also recognizes there are many variations within the province in regards to the impacts of population growth and threats from development, both residential and industrial,” the committee writes in its report. “The committee feels that protection and increased productive capacity of the land in the ALR goes hand in hand with providing the support needed to assist ranchers and farmers grow and diversify profitable agricultural production. For this reason, the committee feels the [Agricultural Land Commission] will need to consider the broad diversity of perspectives in regards to use of land in the ALR as compared to a ‘one size fits all’ regulation. This may be accommodated by allowing more flexibility in the regulations and retaining the values of the Agricultural Land Reserve through the integrity of the Agricultural Land Commission.”

• Maple Drive streetlighting discussed

Through initial discussions with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), BC Hydro and City of Quesnel, the CRD board has been advocating for streetlighting along Maple Drive.

At its Jan. 17 meeting, the board endorsed revisiting the issue with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, as board members believe it is MOTI’s responsibility to install streetlights along the corridor, according to a press release from the CRD.

Failing success there, the board plans to ask stakeholders in the area to contribute to the capital cost of installing streetlights. At that point, the CRD would approach affected property owners to seek their assent to establish a new service for the provision of streetlighting.

See Friday’s Observer for more about this issue.

• North Cariboo memorandum of understanding signed

The CRD board authorized the signing of a North Cariboo Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the CRD and the City of Quesnel. The MOU addresses several topics, including the landfill, cemetery, invasive plant management, transit including handyDART, Quesnel fringe area fire protection, recycling, parks and recreation, emergency support, fire training centre and a fire department mutual aid agreement.

• CCRHD Chair and Vice-Chair elected for 2020

At its Jan. 17 meeting in Williams Lake, the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board re-elected Director Bob Simpson as Chair and Director Al Richmond as Vice-Chair for 2020.

The next CRD and CCRHD meetings are Thursday, Feb. 13.

READ MORE: CRD will contribute to operating costs of Quesnel airport

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