VICTORIA (March 7, 2019) – Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo has deep concerns about the NDP government’s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) Amendment Act, which will strip away the fundamental rights of landowners in this province.
If Bill 15 is passed, private property owners will no longer have the right to petition the ALC for removal of land. Only a local government or First Nations government will be able to apply for changes.
“I support the Agricultural Land Reserve and efforts to protect farmland, but this Bill goes too far in eroding the fundamental rights of private property owners,” says Kyllo. “The NDP may think it knows best when it comes to managing people’s private property, but that’s just plain wrong.”
Kyllo also notes the bill would eliminate the ALC’s six regional panels, which will ignore the unique needs of rural British Columbia.
“B.C. has a number of diverse agricultural regions, and shutting down regional panels will eliminate the knowledge and expertise of farmers and ranchers in those areas,” says Kyllo. “Bill 15 will diminish these local voices and concentrate power in Victoria.”
He adds those regional panels were among a series of reforms brought in by the former BC Liberal government to relieve a massive backlog of applications. Moving back to a single commission may create more red tape— and uncertainty— for farm owners across the province.