B.C.’s agri-tourism industry under attack

VICTORIA (June 11, 2019) – John Horgan and the NDP are making it harder for B.C. farmers to succeed, and quashing summer fun for British Columbians in the process.

A number of agri-tourism events around the province are being cancelled thanks to the NDP’s insistence on overburdening farmers with red tape and government interference.

“The popular B.C. Hop Fest in Abbotsford is the latest summer event to be cancelled thanks to a more stringent interpretation of the rules by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC),” says Ian Paton, BC Liberal Co-Critic for Agriculture and MLA for Delta South. “The event organizers have specifically cited provincial government policy as an issue, but the NDP refuses to support this struggling industry.”

Meanwhile, Bird’s Eye Cove Farm in the Cowichan Valley has been forced to cancel its Market/Pizza family farm evenings for the summer, as the ALC regards these as ‘events’ even though their own farm-raised meats are used in the goods served. The farm calls these restrictions ‘crippling.”

In Nanoose Bay, Rusted Rake Farm’s on-site eatery is being threatened by government regulations that don’t allow restaurants on the Agricultural Land Reserve unless they are connected to a brewery or winery.

Organizers of the Glow Christmas festival had to move out of Darvonda Gardens in Langley, and into two new locations in Abbotsford and Vancouver, after the ALC ruled the event isn’t a permitted farm use. Having to apply for ‘non-farm use’ means additional paperwork and a $1,500 expense for farmers.

“These are the types of concerns the Official Opposition was in the midst of raising during the spring Legislative session, but John Horgan and the NDP abruptly cut off debate so they could ram through their flawed legislation,” says Linda Larson, BC Liberal Co-Critic for Agriculture and MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “These measures are taking away an important stream of revenue for farmers and the opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy fun community events.”

Paton and Larson say Agriculture Minister Lana Popham is stifling the business of farming because of her insistence on protecting the land and not the farmer. They note there is no farm without the farmer, and say government should be encouraging these activities rather than regulating them to oblivion.

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