Local governments have more influence over agricultural land use decisions according to an associate professor at UNBC who has recently completed a study of agricultural land use planning within the Cariboo.
Dr. David Connell, with Ecosystem Science and Management, explains why he believes that is the case.
“Local governments still do not have the ability to make the final decision but under the new rules and regulations under the Agricultural Land Commission Act local governments have more influence I would say because there is more flexibility designed into the system-there’s more criteria which means more things need to be considered.”
Connell says the Northern study BC study which included Kitimat-Stikine, Bulkley-Nechako, Peace River, and Fraser-Fort George was part of a national study that started 2 years ago.
He says it is difficult to compare the land use planning strengths of one regional district to another as each has different landscapes and types of agricultural activities, therefore having different needs, interests, and decisions to make.
4 principles were developed and used to assessing the strength of each region-maximizing stability, integrating public priorities, minimizing uncertainties, and accommodating flexibilities.
“I do see value in the information, the assessment that I did as generating discussion,” says Connell. “And then these tools, the principles, they can facilitate that discussion to getting policymakers and planners more words, and concepts, and ideas to work with.”
Connell says he’ll be taking the results of his study and turn it into toolkit that is available to everyone.