ALC decisions and local elections

Happy apple harvest everyone!

On September 28th, a speaker series was held at Okanagan College. The topic was the ALR and the highlight of the evening was the presentation given by Mr. Richard Bullock. I (Erin) did not attend the event, however I have some good news to share.
The Land Commission has a monstrous stack of applications to go over and they take each one very seriously.

Summerland is in that stack and things are moving slowly.

There is one week left to announce intentions to run for a seat in Summerland’s government.
Once all candidates are announced, the members of Stop the Swap will be asking for pledges from candidates.
We are looking forward to finding out who will run and promise an update following the October 10th deadline.

Stay tuned!

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Open Letter by Corky Evans [dated Thursday, 8 May]

Open Letter to Almost Everybody,

My name is Corky Evans. I garden and farm in the Kootenays of B.C. Many years ago I was the Minister of Agriculture.

I do not understand popular culture or electronic communication. I have not learned to do Facebook. What I have been told is that when people find something interesting from someone they trust, they send it on to other people and in this way it is possible to engage more people, faster, than ever before.

I have decided that this technology that I do not understand may be the last chance we have to influence the Government of B. C. not to dismantle the historical protection of farmland where we live.

I am not going to try to explain the issue or the history or the legislation that is being debated in Victoria as I write. You do not have to know that stuff to know that food is important and that land to grow food on needs to be protected from being paved over. That is all you need to know. For forty years we have had rules in B.C. that protected farm land pretty well. This week the Government is trying to pass a law that will destroy the protection of farmland.

The Government didn’t think up this idea. They got it from the Fraser Institute. You may have heard of those people. They represent the largest Corporations and Banks in the Province. They are not known for caring a great deal about public policy. They will get richer paving farmland than by leaving it alone.

I think lots of the MLAs in Victoria know this law they are debating is a bad law. The law is opposed by Greens, New Democrats and Independents. They are, as I write, trying to delay passage to give citizens a chance to learn what is happening and react. I think it also opposed by some Liberal members who are too afraid to speak publicly.

You can research everything I am saying if you have time. If you don’t have time, and if you got this letter from someone you trust, I beg you to take 5 minutes to try and stop this law. I do not care, by the way, if it is stopped forever. I just want it stopped until citizens understand what is happening and get to have a say before the Government wrecks something of great importance for our shared future.

If you have 5 minutes here is what you do: You look in the phone book for the number of your MLA and call them and say you don’t want them to pass Bill 24. Or you send them an e-mail by looking here to find their address. Then you send this request to the people who trust your judgement enough to read it.

This probably won’t work. I am asking, though, because nothing else will. In a week or so we will all know how it turned out.

Thank you for reading this.

Sincerely,

Corky Evans

Winlaw

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Council votes to remove 200 acres, send application to Land Commission

Monday, 28 April 2014

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUMMERLAND COUNCIL VOTES IN FAVOUR OF ALR LAND SWAP PROPOSAL

LAND SWAP TO COME BEFORE ALC FOR FINAL DECISION

Summerland, BC — In front of a packed Council Chamber, Summerland Mayor and Council made its final vote in favour of the controversial land swap proposal that would remove over 80 hectares of some of the town’s best farming land from the Agricultural Land Reserve Monday night.

The swap is part of the District of Summerland’s proposed new Urban Growth Plan. Under the plan, just over 80 hectares of prime flat, arable farmland would be removed from the ALR to be replaced by just over 90 hectares of much lower quality, hilly land.

Councillor Peter Waterman was the only one to vote against the plan.

By any measure, the Summerland community has shown overwhelming opposition to the land swap. At the public hearing held last Tuesday, 22 April, 38 of 39 speakers spoke against the proposal. To date over 3,000 people, including over 1,500 Summerlanders, have signed a petition against the swap.

The petition was organized by the grassroots group Stop the Swap, formed in December 2013 by Erin Carlson.

“Unfortunately, Council chose not to listen to us” said Carlson. “Thankfully, we have a Land Commission entrusted to make the right decision for agriculture. The facts are on our side. This is a bad deal for farmland and we are confident the Land Commission will make the right decision for agriculture.”

Over sixty members of the public filled the Chamber to standing room only.

Should the ALC rule in favour of the bylaw, it will come before Council one more time for final adoption.

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Overwhelming support for saving Summerland’s farmland

April 22 Public Hearing full audio

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It’s all about the land!

Summerland resident and song writer Allan Crossley has created a great song in support of farmland. You can hear it on YouTube or download a free mp3 version: https://gumroad.com/l/JcurA

 

 

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From the Founders of Stop the Swap

 

We are all Summerlanders aged 30 and under, having either grown up here or moved here in our twenties, and all of us have worked in the local agricultural economy.
We understand the need for growth and development.
We understand our community’s increasing infrastructure costs.
We understand the threat of climate change and the need for food security.
We understand and believe in smart growth principles that allow for growth and development while preserving and enhancing agricultural lands.
We support the Agricultural Land Commission and its mandate to preserve farmland.
Above all, we are in favour of a fact-based, improved dialogue within the community and believe that it is essential for a future that represents all of our shared interests.

 

Regards,

Erin Carlson, Anastasia Ivanusic, Anissa McAlpine, Katie Sardinha, Alexander Thistlewood, and Dru Yates.

 

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On BC ALR changes

On March 27th, the BC Government proposed changes the Agricultural Land Reserve. In essence, 90% of the province’s currently protected ALR land would be made available for resource extraction and development. The other 10% shouldn’t see many changes. The bill that will break the ALR into two zones and restructure the Agricultural Land Commission. The first 2 links below present the proposed Bill and a newly compiled map of what the future of the ALR looks like if this becomes law. It is not a good direction for BC and it is time to stand up for our land, our farms, and our food.

The bill

Maps and taking action

CBC first story

BC NDP response

NEWS RELEASE – Losing Ground – Soil scientists raise concerns about potential loss of agricultural land at recent workshop

Garden City blog: when it’s being fixed, don’t break it

BC Iconoclast blog

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