Letter: Let marijuana growth in ALR

How much more unproductive land do we want to accumulate in the ALR?

(THE NEWS/files) Andrew Pozsar listened to the neighbours when they said they didn’t want a chicken barn on 250th Street.

Editor, The News:

Re: Letter: Farmland should be protected for food.

I strongly believe that we should allow marijuana production on our farmlands.

Let me give you a brief background. I grew up on a chicken farm, both of my parents were full-time farmers and all four of my grandparents were also full-time farmers. I know and understand farming.

About 10 years ago, my wife purchased ALR land in Maple Ridge for the purpose of us starting a poultry farm operation.

After years of planning, in 2017, we were ready to start farming. But due to extreme resistance from the residential neighbours, we were forced to give up our farming plans.

Current city bylaws on our farm prevent the farming of mink, mushroom, swine or marijuana. We are unable to do poultry farming, also.

Due to extremely poor soil and drainage conditions, we cannot do any soil-based agriculture. The relatively small size of the property (2.4 acres ) also prevents us from any other type of farming.

The letter suggests that “the Agricultural Land reserve must be preserved and protected for growing traditional farm crops only, such as tomatoes, peppers and the like.”

I’d like to bring up the following stats.

In B.C., we have approx. 47,000 sq. km of ALR land, of which 10 per cent does 85 per cent of the production.

Alternatively, 90 per cent of the ALR lands in B.C. produce next to nothing.

In Maple Ridge, many of these ALR lands, including my wife’s property, was never farmed, for various reasons, such as: poor soil and drainage conditions, size of the parcels, lack of agricultural buffer, zoning, bylaw restrictions.

Furthermore, about 24 per cent of all agricultural activities in Maple Ridge take place outside of the ALR.

And, 70 per cent of the farmers in Maple Ridge make less then $10,000 a year in gross farm income.

In Maple Ridge, 80 per cent of the farmers make less then $25,000 a year in gross farm income.

So it is imperative that the ALR is protected?

My question is, why?

What is the end game? How much more unproductive land do we want to accumulate in the ALR?

This is a complete waste. If the land is not farmable, it should not be called farmland and it should not be in the ALR.

Growing marijuana would allow local farmers to put their land into production and earn a decent living.

Other than poultry, dairy and eggs, B.C. agriculture competes globally with countries like the U.S., Mexico and China.

These agricultural products are often a better quality at better price. Therefore, profitable farming is getting increasingly more difficult.

I’m not suggesting that blueberry farms should be destroyed to give way to the production of marijuana, I’m simply pointing out that some of the 90 per cent of unfarmed ALR lands could be put to production, by growing marijuana.

Andrew Pozsar

Maple Ridge

Just Posted

LETTER: In Maple Ridge, tents are not enough

At the end of the day, there was shelter and food.

Maple Ridge pair denied stay of extradition

Two facing charges in India from 2000

Mission firefighters battle barge fire near Silverdale

Barge contains several living quarters, no news on injuries

Maple Ridge returns to B.C. Supreme Court to address tent city safety

Order to better identify those living in the camp who do not have housing or shelter.

Girl, 6, lured from elementary school, sexually assaulted: Vancouver police

Police are seeking dashcam footage from nearby Sexsmith Elementary School in South Vancouver

Ridge hospital foundation helps with mental health

Donates a possible $500k for youth wellness

Coquihalla closed northbound

Highway 5 is set to reopen after 1 p.m.

Stop ‘renovictions,’ B.C. housing task force says

MLAs call for end to strata bans on renting vacant suites

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

B.C. Liberals call for outside audit of Speaker’s office, NDP refuses

Auditor General implicated in Darryl Plecas accusations of impropriety

Three victims of ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest suing Alpine Canada

The victims are also seeking $150,000 each in punitive damages

Trudeau names four new senators, filling every seat in the Senate

Trudeau has appointed 49 senators since becoming prime minister and will have the chance to appoint more in 2019

B.C. member of parliament takes feds to task on opioid crisis

‘Too many families are tragically losing parents, siblings and children to the opioid crisis.’

Heart attack raises questions about boarding BC Ferries in health emergencies

Quadra Island man recovering after being airlifted to hospital in Victoria

Most Read