If you have been following this blog, you know that I started this project back in January 15, 2009. At the time, I was looking for a breakdown of municipality stats for land included and excluded from the ALR in the South Fraser. What ensued was a lengthy battle with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) who gave me the run around for over a year. It took the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia to finally compel the ALC to freely provide the information I was looking for. At that point I figured I would get a decade’s worth of information since whenever governments try to hide data something is usually up. What I found after a week researching at the ALC office this spring was shocking yet expected.
Up until the late 1970s, the South of Fraser sub-region lost large areas of farmland to industrial parks and urban development. In the late 1980s, the sub-region lost farmland to golf courses. Since 2000, the ALR has been steadily losing land to transportation infrastructure. The largest single exclusion of land from the ALR was for construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road. The major contributor to loss of farmable land in the ALR is the provincial government, responsible for over ¾ of all changes in the South of Fraser over the last decade alone. The purpose of the ALR is to provide agricultural land for farm use, but is under extreme pressure for transportation project. In fact, the ALC has no choice but to approve transportation projects as they an approved use under ALR legislation. The provincial government needs to strike a better balance between transportation infrastructure and the ALR, or the farmland in the South of Fraser (70.2% of all the ALR in Metro Vancouver) will continue to be lost.
Another trend that I saw was the introduction of “equestrian communities” which have large lot houses with common stables and equestrian facilities, justifying their non-farm use. Everyone knows they are McMansion, yet somehow projects are being approved. I suggest that you download the full report as it is the only report that looks at the ALR in the South of Fraser.
Largest Applications Approved from 2000-2009
90 Hectares- South Fraser Perimeter Road
34.2 Hectares- Nordel Interchange Surrounding Land
23.36 Hectares - BIP Highway 15 Expansion
21 Hectares - BC Rail: Deltaport Expansion
13.5 Hectares - BIP Highway 10 Expansion
Download the Full Report in PDF(987k)