May 28, 2014 4:03 am

Vancouver chefs speak out against possible ALR changes

WATCH: Chefs across the province are afraid that valuable farmland will no longer be protected under the ALR and that locally grown food will become a thing of the past. Randene Neill reports.

A number of B.C. chefs have joined forces to speak out against proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“We’re growing. We are going to need that land in the future,” said Scott Jaeger of the Chef Table Society of BC.

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Around 90 per cent of B.C.’s crops are grown in what the government is calling Zone 1 – land in Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Okanagan. Under the terms of proposed legislation, little is will change to how agricultural land is regulated there.

But in Zone 2, which would cover every other region, farmers would have more flexibility in land use.

The changes were heavily criticized by some farmers when the legislation was first introduced, who were worried it would open the door to large-scale development.

MORE: B.C. farmers rally against changes to Agricultural Land Reserve

“Systems are emerging that are going to allow us to farm that land, but if it’s [developed], there’s no opportunity to achieve that or have a chance at it,” said Jonathan Chovancek, vice-president of the society.

While the government has since made amendments to the bill, a final vote is still scheduled for this Thursday – and these chefs are worried that any changes to Zone 2 could threaten their future food supply.

- With files from Randene Neill and The Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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