Budget 2004 -- Government of British Columbia.
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Photograph -- Honourable George Abbott.I am pleased to present the 2004/05 – 2006/07 Service Plan of the Agricultural Land Commission, an agency reporting to me but operating under its own enabling legislation, the Agricultural Land Commission Act. The Commission is charged with preserving agricultural land and encouraging and enabling farm businesses throughout British Columbia.

It accomplishes these goals by managing the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in partnership with local governments, public agencies and other stakeholders. A protected land base provides opportunities for the expansion of agriculture and other compatible activities, to help achieve economic growth throughout the province.

The Commission's Service Plan goals support the government's goals of "a strong and vibrant provincial economy" and "safe, healthy communities and a sustainable environment."

The Commission has worked hard over the past year to bring its decision-making closer to those affected by its decisions. Commissioners have met with hundreds of applicants on their lands, and with many of the local governments who have joint responsibility for land use regulation of the ALR. It has worked closely with many of its stakeholders, including some First Nations that are at the agreement-in-principle stage of treaty negotiations. The Commission has delegated some decision-making for oil and gas development in the ALR to the Oil and Gas Commission, while ensuring the agricultural land base continues to be protected.

Growth in BC's agriculture sector has outperformed growth in many other economic sectors. A secure land base provided by the ALR is critical to the continuing growth of this sector. The supply of safe, high quality, BC farm products and economic opportunities in our rural and urban fringe areas will be assured through the ALR. BC's reputation for quality food exports from this land base will continue to rise.

Government supports the growth of agriculture, its jobs and its contributions towards sustainable communities and economies. The work of the Agricultural Land Commission and its partners in land use planning is fundamental to the achievement of a strong and vibrant agricultural economy in BC.

Honourable George Abbott
Minister of Sustainable Resource Management

February 4, 2004


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