Should be adding ALR, not gutting it

So Mayor Walters solution to the traffic congestion and conflicts between farmers and commuters is to erase the farms?

Editor, The News:

Re: Pitt farmland OK’d for new road, mall (The News, Aug. 17)

“As a council, we are firm in our commitment to diversify the tax base, provide local jobs and preserve our agricultural roots.  This decision helps support all of those things.” – Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters

So Mayor Walters solution to the traffic congestion and conflicts between farmers and commuters is to erase the farms? Great solution but I question the validity of her argument  as I don’t see how it supports local farms. It certainly does however make land owners very wealthy.

Ultimately between this exclusion and others and the recent announcement by Bill Bennett to “reform” (call it what you will) the ALR it essentially means that while individuals win the jackpot in the end we all suffer.

If you question that then I would ask you to look at what your are eating next time you are at the dinner table in remember this next excerpt:

“To produce a healthy diet for the projected B.C. population in 2025, farmers will need to have 2.78 million hectares in production of which 281,000 will need access to irrigation.

This means that to produce a healthy diet for British Columbians in 2025, given existing production technology, the farmland with access to irrigation will need to increase by 92,000 hectares or 49% over 2005 levels.

To maintain the current level of self-reliance through to the year 2025, farmers will need to increase production by 30% over 2001 levels. The increased production will be concentrated on the land that has access to irrigation – land that is typically near the urban centers.”

(Source: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/resmgmt/Food_Self_Reliance/BCFoodSelfReliance_Report.pdf)

So why are we taking even on acre of land out of the ALR?

If anything we should be adding land and increasing our production to keep up with our growing population.

And no Mr. Bennett, I’m not talking about taking away local A1 or A2 land and replacing it with A3 and A4 land somewhere in Northern B.C.

Or we can continue to gut the ALR and rely more heavily on GMO and other food shipped from thousands of kilometers away.

Not only is that just idiocy but detrimental to our own health as well as the environment.

How will future generations feed themselves when our capacity to grow local food is eventually gone?

When the oil required to ship it thousands of kilometers is gone?  When for instance Nestle has taken all of the water for free and has moved elsewhere?

But I guess it’s all about jobs as Christy Clark says.  Funny thing though as it’s self defeating to have a great job yet poor nutrition and health in an environment that isn’t conducive to vibrant living.  Isn’t it?

Michael Nenn

Mission, B.C.

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