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 2007/08 – 2009/10 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 Agricultural Land Commission administers the Agricultural Land Reserve 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.

Over the past year, the six regional panels of the Commission faced an increasing number of applications, many of which were complex and the subject of much public scrutiny. A great deal of thought and discussion has taken place on how to best position the Commission to deal with the ongoing challenge of reconciling the needs of growing communities with the critical task of maintaining our agricultural lands. This Service Plan reflects the outcome of these discussions and identifies a number of actions and strategies that will improve the capabilities of the Commission in many areas, including pro-active planning and enforcement.

The Agricultural Land Commission 2007/08 – 2009/10 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, 2007 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, 2007

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