Re "Richmond councillors want say on farmland fill," News, Jan. 23.
Thanks to farmer Ray Galawan, with excellent support from the Richmond community, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) acted on Jan. 18 to stop the dumping on a Finn Road farm.
The article says the property owner hopes to get a court injunction so work can resume. However, the order issued by ALC compliance officer Thomas Loo can only be lifted through the ALC appeal process.
To build on the momentum, we need simple steps that don't burden farmers or taxpayers. For instance, we need transparency with all applications and proposals to the ALC. The commission has it all filed electronically. Tt could be opened to direct public access so anyone noticing abuse of ALR farmland will be able to find out what status the activity has with the commission. The open system would limit frustration and damage.
Regarding council having a say, Section 46 of the ALC Act says "nothing in this Act affects or impairs the validity of a local government bylaw . . . relating to the use of agricultural land in an agricultural land reserve" if it is consistent with the act - which the stopping of dumping on farmland is.
Jim Wright Richmond
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