Commission 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
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2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report

Photograph -- Honourable Stanley B. Hagen.The year 2002/03 was one of significant change and transition for the Agricultural Land Commission, an agency reporting to me but operating under its own legislation, the Agricultural Land Commission Act.

During the year, government re-focused the work of the Commission on preserving agricultural land through the provincial land reserve system — the Agricultural Land Reserve or ALR. It achieved its New Era commitment to make the Commission more regionally responsive to community needs by implementing a new regional panel structure for the Commission, and making decisions in the regions. The government also provided the Commission with new tools and results-based processes to manage the ALR more efficiently and effectively.

The Commission and its staff managed these important changes while continuing to serve the public interest to preserve agricultural land and encourage and enable farming of that land. It also worked closely with agricultural stakeholders and other land and resource users, and its local government partners. The Commission, in its current Service Plan 2003/04 – 2005/06, has refined its objectives and performance measures to align itself further with government priorities, and to make it even more accountable to the public.

Agriculture makes a crucial and growing contribution to the BC economy, day in and day out, year after year. Total farm sales of $2 billion in 2002 represented an increase of almost 12% over the previous five-year average. A stable land base, guaranteed by the ALR, ensures that agriculture and other land-based businesses can continue to grow and prosper. With the ALR, land is available for agriculture and many other activities, ranging from wineries and home-based businesses to oil and gas development and gravel extraction. Without the ALR, BC would not have the stable land base for many rural economic activities such as our successful and growing wine industry.

Through our 'heartlands strategy', government has renewed its commitment to agriculture and has recognized its many contributions to rural communities and regional economies. The BC Progress Board reported that the re-vitalization of land-based industries, including agriculture, will be a critical determinant of economic prosperity for BC. The government's Strategic Plan has a goal of "safe, healthy communities and a sustainable environment"; successful agriculture is a critical and indispensable component of sustainable communities and a prosperous provincial economy.

The Agricultural Land Commission, on behalf of government, is committed to successfully serving the public interest in preserving agricultural lands, for both present and future generations. Its success over the past 30 years is one of the reasons why BC is a leader in agricultural technologies, such as greenhouse production, and in agri-food exports, which are recognized for their safety and quality, and which are increasing annually. With an enhanced provincial land reserve system in place, BC will continue to reap the benefits of a protected land base for agriculture and other compatible activities, and of a continuing, safe and secure food supply.

Honourable Stan Hagen
Minister of Sustainable Resource Management


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