Message from the Minister
and Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Pat Bell.As the minister responsible for the Agricultural Land Commission, I am pleased to present the 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan for the Agricultural Land Commission.

B.C.’s fertile lands yield some of the world’s highest quality agricultural and food products. We produce a greater variety of agricultural products over a wider range of geographical and climatic conditions than any other area in Canada. A high quality agricultural land base has long been the cornerstone of B.C.’s farm economy and is an important resource for the future. That is why B.C. has preserved five per cent of our entire land base — our best agricultural lands — for food production within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The ALR currently covers approximately 4.7 million hectares that include private and public lands. Land is added to the ALR as well as excluded, and since 2001, the Agricultural Land Reserve has been larger than at any time in its existence since 1974.

The Agricultural Land Commission administers the ALR as an arms’-length administrative tribunal. Although the Chair reports to me, the Commission operates independently within the framework of the Agricultural Land Commission Act. Its members are entrusted by the government to preserve agricultural land, to encourage and enable farm businesses throughout British Columbia and to consider community interests.

The six-panel regional structure that our government established in 2002 is balancing provincial interest with community needs. I expect the Commission to continue to contribute to communities by making balanced decisions to preserve agricultural land, decisions that will contribute to the government’s goals of leading the world in sustainable environmental management and creating jobs for British Columbians.

The Agricultural Land Commission 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am responsible for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of February 15, 2006 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.

Honourable Pat Bell
Minister of Agriculture and Lands

February 15, 2006

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