Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More ALR

Well, I’ve sent in my Freedom of Information Request to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), so now they have 30 day to reply to my request. While doing some research about the ALC and agriculture in the South of Fraser, I seem to have hit a brick wall when it comes to information. If I didn’t know better, I would think that the government is trying to hide something with the lack of information out there on the agricultural land reserve (ALR). The Township of Langley had some information that they sent me, based on 2000 data, and they were the most responsive to my information request. The City of Surrey has more stats on agriculture and the ALR online compared to Delta or Langley, though it is based on 2004 data. I received an email last week from the City of Surrey letting me know that someone would get back to my request.

What shocked me the most is the limited about of data on agricultural land in Delta. While both the Township of Langley and Surrey have agricultural information online and easy to find, it appears that in Delta, mum’s-the-word. Any agricultural information I was able to find online in Delta was buried within the Official Community Plan (OCP). When I contacted the Corporation of Delta to get information about the agricultural land, I was told that their agricultural plan was only available for viewing at their municipal hall. Why isn’t this online? Also, when I asked about ALR information, I was told to contact that ALC, and that they knew nothing. When I asked if their stats on the ALR in their 2005 OCP was updated to 2009 information, I was promptly ignored. What do they have to hide in Delta? The lack of information on farming is odd in the community that bills itself as farm central.

Anyway, while I wait for my ALR information I thought I would share some interesting facts. The Township of Langley is the leader in ALR land. In fact, Langley has more ALR land than Surrey and Delta combined. Also, you will be surprised at who’s the worst offender when it comes to taking farm land out of production. It’s not who you think, but more on that later...

Tracking my Freedom of Information Request

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