MetroVanWatch has obtained a copy of this NEWS RELEASE
April 18, 2012
Huntington releases petition to save farmland
Delta, B.C. – Independent MLA Vicki Huntington is encouraging residents to sign a petition demanding the B.C. government protect South Delta farmland from planned industrial development. The petition was released by her Delta South constituency office today.
The Agricultural Land Reserve was created in 1973 to protect South Delta’s extraordinarily productive farmland. Now, under the pretense of serving the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the Port and industrial speculators are scheming to turn back the clock,” says Huntington.
“We need to tell this government that wholesale industrialization of our productive, irreplaceable farm land is absolutely unacceptable.”
Huntington recently revealed that an industrial development company has secretly optioned nearly 600 acres of ALR farmland near Deltaport, with plans to build an intermodal yard and logistics park for the port. She says the plans are being pushed by a business consortium, based on the understanding that the farmland between Hwy 17 and Deltaport Way would eventually be approved for development as part of Deltaport’s container port expansion.
The B.C. Government has yet to publically state its position on the industrialization plans. In Question Period, Agriculture Minister Don McRae told Huntington, “I have no problem living in a free country where people can buy land and make applications. However, I have total faith that the ALC will do and fulfill its mandate which is to protect farm land for future generations of British Columbians.” As the development could likely be a federal port project, it may be immune from provincial ALR land-use restrictions. In 2009, Port Metro Vancouver bought the 200-acre Gilmore farm for future port development – despite the farm being protected by the ALR.
“Knowledge is the best defense we have against the proposed farmland industrialization. We need to show this government that, while we understand the business case for Gateway-related development, we also understand the toll massive industrialization would have on South Delta’s farming community, food security, and the Pacific Migratory Bird Flyway,” Huntington says.
The petition will be available at Huntington’s MLA office in Ladner, and will be distributed by volunteers at various locations in Delta and throughout the lower mainland. Huntington will formally introduce the written petition to the Legislative Assembly.
An online version of the petition will also be made available on Huntington’s website, <http://www.vickihuntington.ca>