Although I assumed responsibility for the Agricultural Land Commission late in the fiscal year, I am very familiar with its work to protect agricultural land and its accomplishments over three decades. The Commission has done an outstanding job in preserving our valuable farmlands on behalf of all British Columbians. This land has provided the foundation for a consistently expanding agricultural sector that provides income, jobs and stability to our rural and urban communities, and food for all British Columbians.
The work of the Commission in managing the Agricultural Land Reserve in a fair and balanced manner has assisted the ministry and government in advancing land use certainty throughout the province over the past year. This, in turn, has helped the government build a strong and vibrant economy together with safe, healthy communities and a sustainable environment.
One of the pillars of the Commission's work over many years has been its close relationship with the municipalities, regional districts, farmers and ALR landowners across British Columbia. These are all partners in, and stewards of, the ALR. The regionally responsive six panel structure of the Commission has been well-received by them. The panel members have built on their relationships with local governments and stakeholders and have improved their knowledge and awareness of local issues and concerns. A regionally based Commission is helping to broaden economic opportunities for those living and working in the ALR and this continues to build sustainability for BC over the long term.
British Columbians can be proud of the province's thirty-year history of agricultural land preservation and the positive effects this land use certainty has had for our growing agricultural sector and our expanding communities. I look forward to working with the Commission Chair and other members in the coming year.
Honourable George Abbott
Minister of Sustainable Resource Management