Local public is passionate about farmland and ALR exclusion applications.

LETTER: Farmland needs to be protected

Chilliwack Field Naturalists club wants to "know nature and to keep it worth knowing"

Re: Notice of Exclusion Application Regarding Land in the Agricultural Land Reserve served by 586611 B.C. Ltd of P.O. Box 355, Agassiz, BC V0M 1A0.

The Chilliwack Field Naturalists is a club founded in 1971, and is affiliated with BC-Nature (formerly the Federation of BC Naturalists), a province-wide organization of naturalists clubs.

Our club membership comprises people from the Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, and Hope areas.

Our motto, “To know nature and to keep it worth knowing” reflects our deep interest and concern for nature and the environment of Canada and B.C. in general, and of the eastern Fraser Valley in particular.

It has come to our attention the publication of a notice of exclusion application for land in the Agricultural Land Reserve in the Feb. 25 edition of the Agassiz Harrison Observer, and we would like to make you aware of our concerns with this application.

Agricultural soils in the Fraser Valley are the most productive and profitable in Canada, due to their intrinsic properties, the climate of the area, and the reliable availability of water for irrigation.

The agricultural area of the Fraser Valley comprises 110,000 hectares of fertile and highly productive agricultural soils stretching throughout the Fraser Valley from Delta to Hope. These soils generate nearly $2 billion in farm receipts annually which is 4.5 per cent of Canada’s farm gate receipts, on just 0.2 per cent of the Farmland.

In spite of the economic success of agriculture in the Fraser Valley, the sector is present only because agricultural soils have been protected from alternate uses by being placed in the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR).

Indeed in the views of many experts, without the protection of the ALR and the legislation that governs it, irreversible urban sprawl and development would have consumed the vast majority of valuable agricultural land, and the Fraser Valley would be covered by urban sprawl similar to the Los Angeles, CA area.

British Columbians value farmland highly, indicating that the value of local farm production, green space, wildlife habitat, and other ecological services provided by these lands far exceed the value of what they produce every year.

Indeed, a study conducted in 2009 concluded that while in 2006 the value of farm products produced by farmland in Metro Vancouver was $5,750 per acre, 95 per cent of the households in Metro Vancouver valued the market value of goods produced and ecological services provided by these lands at $58,000 per acre per year; tenfold the value of the land production alone.

If this public value is preserved in perpetuity, to estimate a value similar to a market value, it becomes $1.16 billion.

Climate change is the single largest factor affecting food security worldwide.

Although not much attention has been given to the effects of climate change on B.C.’s agriculture, it is likely that in the future our food crops will be affected, directly or indirectly, and in unpredictable ways by a number of biological, physical and socioeconomic factors. Presently, British Columbia is highly dependent on California for most of our fruits and vegetables.

However, California is suffering from a long-term drought that is likely to intensify as climate change evolves.

These factors indicate that the security of our food supply may be at risk unless, as a society, we strive to protect our farmland assets from use in irreversible non-agricultural use.

For the reasons we have presented, we are requesting that you reject this application as it is neither in the interest of the people of our communities, British Columbians, nor Canadians, and it helps to erode the much needed safeguard of farmlands in B.C.

Sincerely,

Fernando SellesPresident Chilliwack Field Naturalists

Just Posted

Agassiz teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

AESS students say they had the experience of a life time

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

Players Guild challenges Chilliwack residents to solve classic Agatha Christie whodunit mystery

The Chilliwack Players Guild is performing Murder on the Nile from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

‘This is gangster,’ bait car thief declares on video

Footage from Abbotsford gains attention on social media

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

UPDATED: $136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Most Read