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Back Environment Environment Agriculture & Food Public Support 3 to 1 for ALR Inclusion of the Southlands

Public Support 3 to 1 for ALR Inclusion of the Southlands

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The Majority of Citizens Want the southlands in the ALR

A report from Delta Staff on the correspondence received up to March 7, 2011 shows clear majority support for an application to return the Southlands to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). For Delta residents, 985 have indicated support for the ALR application while only 501 have indicated opposition. For those outside of Delta, 441 have indicated support for the ALR application while only 22 have indicated opposition. In total 1426 out of 1949 total pieces of correspondence indicate support for an ALR application, constituting a 73% majority opinion. This follows a Ipsos Reid survey of Tsawwassen showing 63% support of maintaining the agricultural designation of Southlands an a poll conducted by the Georgia Straight showing 70% support for an ALR application. The poll conducted here on the Delta Free Press has support for ALR incluion at 88%.

The Public Hearing to consider an application for Southlands inclusion in the ALR ran for three evenings before being suspended by Delta Mayor Lois Jackson who called a “Mayor Summit” to discuss further options. Citing a lack of consensus in the community, Jackson’s Summit would consist of a variety of involved parties, with the hope of coming up with a solution that would satisfy everyone. The Public Hearing will be resumed on April 14 with a presentation given from the Summit.

“Every time the community is asked, the answer comes back to protect agricultural land” stated Dana Maslovat, one of the organizers of Southlands the Facts, “At some point our elected officials need to show that food security is an issue that requires more than just lip service.

The Public Hearing represents a long line of contentious meetings regarding the Southlands. This piece of farmland was the cause of the longest public hearing in Commonwealth history and a resident run plebiscite in 1989, which prevented a 2000 unit development that was proposed for the same property. The Southlands was originally in the ALR, but was removed by a Provincial Order-in-Council in 1981, even though its exclusion was rejected by the Agricultural Land Commission due to the high soil quality. In 1988 an application to change the designation to accommodate 1900 homes was eventually rejected, following the longest public hearing in Commonwealth history.