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Thread: Agricultural Land Reserve

  1. #1
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    Default Agricultural Land Reserve

    I think it's high time we started to preserve one of Alberta's best natural assests, its rich soil. BC has it's Agricultural Land Reserve. Why not here?

    I propose a provincial law that forbids any non-agricultural development on class 1 soil within 150km of Edmonton or Calgary.


    In other words. All the dark brown areas come off the table for development. It won't end urban sprawl but it will constrain it and prevent one of it's worst side-effects, the destruction of the rural.
    Change the incentives and our car-dependant city can change too.

  2. #2

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    You raise a well-deserved issue, and I'm very sympathetic to your proposal. I'm not sure about 150 km ... but your point is taken.

    As someone from a farming background, it galls me that modern housing developments don't incorporate mini-agricultural features. Most new streets don't even have boulevards for trees ... which to me, is a crime.

    Rather than build more so-called 'golfing communities' for the minority of people who can still afford to golf, I'd like to see, for example, an urban community designed for the millions of Canadians who love to garden.

    In fact, I'd be interested in knowing if anyone knows of any new housing development anywhere that is designed for gardeners.
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    I do agree to the review of the developments on prime ag land however as a general query is this grade 1 soil not all removed prior to development ?
    It is disheartening to see our farmers giving up on prime lands whether due to the conditions of the commodities markets, a lack of family willing to take on a pretty thankless job and life or just trading land for dollars
    The irony is the Fresh food street markets that we all love in the hearts of our towns and cities in Alberta with the ever increasing drives and transport of the goods from the farm gate to the Farmers Markets on Pavement
    Last edited by Blueline; 03-02-2010 at 07:55 AM.

  4. #4

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    I'm surprised a lot of these new, dense communities like Century Park and Windermere don't have gardens in the proposal. It should be a requirement for a development permit.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn View Post
    You raise a well-deserved issue, and I'm very sympathetic to your proposal. I'm not sure about 150 km ... but your point is taken.
    150km was chosen at random because I wanted a nice round number near 100 miles; as in the "100 mile diet". But it could easily apply to a smaller area. The point though, is that it is not a "greenbelt" like those in England or Ontario because unlike those it doesn't take all agricultural land in the "belt" out of consideration, only the class 1 areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline View Post
    I do agree to the review of the developments on prime ag land however as a general query is this grade 1 soil not all removed prior to development ?
    Remove to where though? It is certainly not kept in the food production system.
    Change the incentives and our car-dependant city can change too.

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    I 1000% support the development of and implementation of an ALR.

    Being someone who grew up in the rural lands...that soil is probably some of the most cherished assets we have...

    The balance is access for those who chose this rural life...to things like services, health care, and the like....sure this is something easy to say for those in Genesee or Darwell, but for those in Foremost and Ft Assiniaboine...
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    I 1000% support the development of and implementation of an ALR.

    Being someone who grew up in the rural lands...that soil is probably some of the most cherished assets we have...
    That's my feeling exactly. It's sad that farming is so devalued that we (urbanites, policy makers) only think about farmland when we want to rip it up for more sprawl. That's just short-sighted. There is a reason that they built Rome in a swap. You don't build over your best land. Good soil is a precious asset.

    The balance is access for those who chose this rural life...to things like services, health care, and the like....sure this is something easy to say for those in Genesee or Darwell, but for those in Foremost and Ft Assiniaboine...
    I certainly wouldn't want to un-build things that are already built. However, there's also no good reason why Strathcona and Surgeon and other counties can't continue to "build up", and diversify their economies, but on the more marginal pieces of land. Like I said, we're not ending development, just redirecting it and protecting certain areas. It's the same a zoning within a city, industrial goes here, residential goes there. It's also kinda like setting aside wilderness areas in parks, or protecting older buildings with a heritage register: we recognize that they are important and give them legal protection. Soil is important too.
    Change the incentives and our car-dependant city can change too.

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    Given I have some experience with the BC (Okanogan) ALR...you don't really unbuild anything...and upward growth is pretty recent at best...yet Westbank and Summerland and Penticton still sprawl...and we won't even begin to talk about Kelowna...

    ...they just sprawl into other areas not ALR bound...

    ...I agree with your sentiment about an Edmonton area ALR, and from my optics, it was the main genesis for the regional plan the C2E group put together...keep the farmland and encourage growth inward from the satellite communities towards Edmonton...

    ...but...politics being politics...and the dearth of high density options for family folks here in Edmonton...well...the writing is on the wall...
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  9. #9

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    Nice thread. I am more in favour of a greenbelt, but this is a good idea as well. It is sad that farmers have been forced into becoming more land speculators, than land custodians. This would be a step in the right direction. An impact might be to bring farmland down to a more economic value to reflect what the land will generate as produce and lifestyle, rather than development potential.

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    The issues of farmers and farmland are much deeper than development speculation.

    Many farmers, like urban folks, fight development.

    However, the commodity prices, trade and tariffs, protectionism, escalating fuel and obscene equipment prices, archaic methods of viewing quality and paying farmers, and unfair stigma cloud the farming world.

    ...so...after getting the crap beaten out of you from all levels, it is no wonder that when the lottery shows up...many "buy that ticket"...
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  11. #11

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    ^which is where a proposal like this is sort of interesting. It would disadvantage existing farmers who own land that could be developed, including some who brought it at overinflated prices. On the other hand, it could help farm-hands and others, who dream of one day maybe entering the industry with their own farm.

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    This ALR proposal would do sweet tweet for farmers. All it would do would "stick it to" the speculator that took the farmland off the market in the first place.

    The ALR would protect the land...yes. ...but for solving the problems facing the farming world today...immaterial....
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    I like the idea of protecting prime agricultural land as well. Why stop 150 km from the cities though? Enforce it across the entire province. Some protection for class 2 and 3 land might be good as well - not an absolute ban on development, but a way of directing development towards the least agriculturally useful land available.

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