Revitalization of ALR

Presentation to the Minister’s Advisory Committee  regarding the Revitalization of ALR and ALC:

Peace River District Women’s Institute represented by Jill Copes, Katharina Keuth and Ruby McBeth

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to express some of our concerns regarding the revitalization of the Agriculture Land Commission and the Agriculture Land Reserve.

One of the objects of the Peace River District Women’s Institute is to promote agriculture in order to obtain food security, accessibility and sustainability in the Peace River District.

Jill, a farmer from Cecil Lake and a member of Nor’ Pioneer Women’s Institute has lived and farmed in Cecil Lake for the past 50 years.

Katharina, a farmer and member of North Pine Women’s Institute moved from Germany to farm in North Pine 30 years ago.

Ruby McBeth, a member of Baldonnel Women’s Institute and has farmed in the Baldonnel area for the past 45 years.

The following is in response to the Discussion Paper from the ALC

  1. A Defensible and Defended ALR

The idea of preserving agriculture land for future generations is a great concept; however in this area through the Delegation Agreement with the Oil and Gas Commission the agriculture land is slowly getting eroded. Oil Lease agreements are perpetual and after 25 years can be renewed with no further negotiations with the land owner and then again in 25 years the same and on it goes.  The inconvenience and the pollution of the soils just increase as time goes on. Many of the old well sites will never be able to be reclaimed as to how they were prior to the industry occupying the area.

  1. ALR Resilience?

Does this delegation agreement with the Oil and Gas Commission provide that  “the ALR, ALC and agriculture in BC should be stable and resilient for generations to come.” (quote from the discussion paper)

No, our future generations are going to have to deal with enormous contaminated sites that will cost millions of dollars to restore. Has the ALC or the provincial government ensured there is a fund to cover this disaster that is bound to happen?

  1. Zone 2 second dwelling

A second dwellings for a family member on the family farm needs to have its own title and ownership, therefore would require a subdivision.

It may be time to revisit home site severance dates. 1973 is 45 years ago; it would be more reasonable to consider 30 years for a home severance when considering succession planning.

The oil industry is allowed to have leases on agriculture land that have an indefinite life span and will be more difficult than as a second resident to put back into productive agriculture land.

  1. Food Security

There is great concern over foreign investment of agriculture land. The PRDWI supports land being sold to people from other countries as long as they become occupiers of their land. It is very concerning the number of acres being bought in this area that is owned by wealthy absentee owners. It not only drives the price of land so it becomes unattainable by young Canadians farmers but also destroys the rural communities. Not to mention other agronomic problems such as weed control as was seen in the 1990s.

  1. Residential Uses in the ALR:

The Peace area has many what I call ¼ section farmers. People buy ¼ sections to be able to live in the country but want the lifestyle of the city. Regardless of size, the amenities for living in the country are the same for power, water, and communication. The only saving may be on taxes. Would it not be more beneficial to allow small individual subdivision for areas that are unable to be farmed because they are cut off from the main field by a creek or road and are unable to be farmed considering the size of equipment that is used today?

  1. Non-Farm Uses and Resource Extraction in the ALR:
  • Concerned with non Canadian oil companies buying land for the extraction of oil or gas.
  • Concerned with what is happening with the large production facilities being developed on agriculture land
  • Concerned with pipelines running everywhere with little consideration given to the farmer.
  • Concerned with the building of massive dugouts for collecting water to be used for industrial purposes.
  • Concerned with the amount of water being used by the oil industry.
  • Concerned that there have not been enough studies done as to where all this frack water goes underground. Will the water table aquifers eventually be polluted?
  • Concerned that oil leases in fact are non-farm use and have more impact that “just a lease.” And what impact this will have on future generations.

Food production is not possible if we do not have access to clean water and soil.

We cannot drink oil!

Submitted by Jill Copes


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