Property too good to be excluded from ALR

Trained agriculturalist opposed to prime ag land being developed

Well, well well! Finally gossip overheard in the local coffee shop is coming true.

An applicant, with a numbered company, seeks exclusion of property touted to be amongst the most fertile plots in the Fraser Valley.

As a trained agriculturalist and a 38-year resident of Agassiz-Harrison, I want to go on record as totally opposed to the request.

The fact that this land once was a thriving dairy farm and more recently a producer of “bumper” Cole crops attests to its value.

That it now grows bare-root, hedging cedar – a questionable agricultural use – at least keeps it as arable farmland.

About 10 years ago developers built three houses on the property’s old farm home site.

Locals suspected this was the first foot in the door.

That the whole fertile block should go into residential – an assumption as the legal notice gives no hint of the purpose – is a travesty.

If subdivision is slated, it is not surprising in Kent municipality.

Over the past quarter-century residential development has covered arable farmland on all sides of the Agassiz townsite.

The Schep farm, where my sons worked in the haying season in the 1980s, is now subdivision.

Recently, on west Pioneer avenue, a field has been covered with three feet of fill and several large homes have been built on farmland around the corner on Ashton road.

Surely as homes age in existing residential areas developers can assemble the land for new higher density housing.

This is more difficult and costly than using bare land, but farmland should not be used.

To the town’s credit, several such “brown” developments do exist.

There is no such thing as a post-agricultural society.

All the riches in the world are nothing when there is no arable land to grow food.

The United Nations agreed at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference that extreme weather is a worldwide challenge.

California and Mexico, areas experiencing drought, supplied the B.C. market with approximately 87 per cent of our vegetables and 63 per cent of our fruit in 2007.

More recent figures may differ, but the point is the dependency cannot continue and may even be reversed in the future.

The Fraser Valley, according to a recent article by a BC Ministry of Agriculture Regional Agrologist has 110,000 hectares of fertile, productive farmland that contributes $4 billion to the economy.

Nurtured by moderate temperatures and reliable access to water, it is protected from urban sprawl by the ALR legislation of 1974.

The Agrologist notes the public places high value on farmland, expressing that local food production, green space and wildlife habitat are very important.

Please reject this ALR exclusion application.

It is not in the best interests of anybody. Not our country, our province, our community or our citizens.

 

Janne Perrin, B.S.A.

Harrison Hot Springs