I am assuming Les Leyne’s latest article Changes to ALR, parks long overdue (Times Colonist April 16, 2014) was attempting to add balance to what has been a very one-sided discussion. Until now the experts have agreed that the governments changes potentially to more harm than good.
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and BC Parks legislation may have needed updating as suggested, but doing so behind the closed doors of cabinet, without the benefit of input from British Columbians as promised, is not appropriate. No wonder by we have been ‘suspicious.’
I have been a vocal advocate of the ALR but it is not perfect and I have said as much. Had Minister Bill Bennett welcomed the public into the process as promised, we could have informed it.
These amendment Bills are not about protecting or enhancing the ALR or Parks. The threat to these important legacies is not urbanization; the threat in ‘Zone 2’ is sprawl development of a different kind, oil & gas wells and pipelines.
Times change and it’s incumbent on government to lead mature discussions about our needs. For the ALR and Parks, it’s the government who raised suspicions with flawed processes and broken promises.