Thursday, May 26, 2005

Selling the Farm in the Fraser Valley: Job Creation or Self Mutilation?

So the Agricultural Land Commission is deciding whether 365 hectares should be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve to make room for industry in south Abbotsford. This land is currently Canada’s very best for raspberry farming.

At the moment, there are also applications from Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge, Langley and Barnston Island to have land taken out of the Agricultural Land Reserve. Barnston Island, which is now a large farming community on the Fraser River, might soon become an industrial park.

This chipping away at the ALR has been going on for ages and it’s not likely to stop any time soon. 365-hectare chunks of land tend to add up. The way things are going, it’s just a matter of time until a farm will be a novelty in the Fraser Valley, which historically has been some of the most fertile agricultural land in Canada.

I have a radical idea that I can’t get out of my head. Why don’t we trade our bulldozers in for tour buses and create a bunch of employment showing tourists one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate on the planet? We don’t need to build anything. All we have to do is hang on to what Mother Nature gave us. It’s a fantastic asset that we have been blessed with. If we preserve our natural assets more carefully than other places in the world, the tourism industry could be a bonanza in the future. 50 years from now, people from Tokyo or Berlin will pay through the nose for a chance to raft by places like Barnston Island. Oh well, what do I know.

Summer’s back with a vengeance. I should be on the links this weekend but no can do. Over 90 language travel agents are visiting from overseas and I’ll be doing my best to meet every one of them. I hope the weather holds out until next weekend!


TODAY'S HEADLINES

INDO-CANADIANS UPSET AT SURREY MP'S ALLEGATIONS
A leading Surrey newspaper columnist says Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal's disclosure that he secretly taped conversations with senior Liberals is an embarrassment to the province's Indo-Canadian community.

GRIZZLY KILLS WOLF AT GROUSE SANCTUARY
A grizzly bear that had been placed with a grey wolf in a wildlife refuge atop Grouse Mountain last week killed the wolf while fighting over a bone on Tuesday night.

JAMES WANTS GREATER VOICE FOR NDP AT LEGISLATURE
NDP Leader Carole James says New Democrats will push for a longer question period and a more active committee system to make proceedings at the legislature more accountable.

NEW APPEAL TO FIND BUS-STOP BABY'S MOTHER
Vancouver police have released a composite drawing of the woman whogave away a newborn baby at a Vancouver bus stop last November.



Vancouver Diary Archives

Everyone's Raving About The RAV
Gurmant Grewal Adds Madcap Diversions to Canadian Politics
Vancouver - Funnest City on English Bay
Vancouver Police: Not Pubic Relations Experts
Engine 374 Pavilion - Vancouver's Best Kept Historical Secret
I Like Mine Wild!
Canadian Government's War on International Education
Canadian Government Shoots Canada In The Foot - Same Old Story
STV: So Thoroughly Vexed
The Capitol 6 goes the way of its neighbors.