After reading the editorial in the April 3, 2011 issue of the Vernon Morning Star, ‘ALC clearly out of touch,’ I am compelled to respond. Evidently, the author believes the Agricultural Land Commission erred in its decision to refuse the proposed sports complex at Okanagan College.
However, in the same article the author goes on to say that no one contests the need to protect farmland. These seemingly contrary views provide an excellent example of the challenges facing the commission during its deliberations.
Over almost 40 years, the commission’s track record of working with local governments will show that it is very much aware of land use issues facing local governments.
While the commission has not always agreed to the conversion of Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land for community purposes, it has accommodated local governments when compelling evidence was provided showing that non-ALR options were either unavailable or impractical.
The Okanagan College property is prime agricultural land.
If a local government proposes to convert prime farm land to another use, the commission expects the application will be accompanied by detailed planning information.
Most notably absent in the Okanagan College application was an in-depth report from the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee outlining anticipated regional recreational needs along with a comprehensive assessment of all available siting options.
The commission remains prepared to discuss recreational development options following a thorough analysis of recreational land use needs in the Greater Vernon area.
Richard Bullock, Chair
Provincial Agricultural Land Commission