Editor, The News:
Re: Much Pitt Meadows farmland left fallow (The News, Feb. 6).
Pitt Meadows has 7,000 hectares of farmland with only 4,000 actually being used for farmland.
Kent Mullinix had pointed out that constant changes in regulations create a speculation of future land values that, in turn, keeps farmland too high priced for sustainable farming.
The ALR is obviously a total failure, that is allowing farmland to gradually disappear.
We all read and hear stories of landowners of farmland or forested vacant lots who are always hoping to or have made it big by subdividing.
How do we stop the loss of farmland – and green space?
How do we stop speculation, which pushes the value of land up – which puts pressure on development?
The suggestion of adding development costs may soften the speculation.
The problem is development regulation change more than ALR regulations and would not deter land speculation.
Politicians will simply adjust the rules for development.
We need to take away the right to subdivide from the politicians.
Political rules and regulations can not be trusted to protect farmland.
We need some practical provincial regulation that allows freedom to development, but has strong incentives to not subdivide.
I would suggest that if any land is to be subdivided that 50 per cent of the land be given to the city.
If farmland or greenspace is to be subdivided because of demand, quality of land or whatever reason is used for the day, that 50 per cent of the land be given to the city.
The actual percent could be based more on the type of zoning for the developed land, but should be consistent and not negotiated by some developer special plea.
A higher percent would slow speculation.
The city could use the land for parkland, farmland or just preserved green space.
If the land is good farmland, the city could lease this out to local citizens who want to operate a sustainable farm and charge accordingly and reduce taxes.
In the worst case, the city could sell this land for development. The city would profit, but would have to get local citizens to agree to the sale.
This plan would put all landowners on equal footing and remove the speculation.
This plan would do a lot for creating and preserving greenspace and farming. It would be based more on demand for farmland than cost.
Landowners could speculate with full knowledge of fair consistent rules.