Read this article by Kelly Sinoski in the Vancouver Sun about a proposal to address the problem of women being murdered or disappearing on highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The Union of BC Municipalities has referred the issue to the North Central Local Government Association, saying it’s a regional issue and should be dealt with locally first.
Daphne Bramham of the Vancouver Sun has been conducting a one-woman campaign for years to draw attention to a serious problem that the Provincial government and law enforcement officials are just unwilling to address: early teenage girls are being forced into polygamous marriages despite being below the age of consent. Read her latest article about 40 children in Bountiful being taken away from their biological fathers.
Read this article by Brian Morton in the Vancouver Sun
about a report by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, which says that closing the Kits base creates two high-risk situations: longer response times from the Sea Island base, 17 nautical miles away in Richmond; and potential overuse of the replacement inshore rescue boat (IRB), an open zodiac-style vessel to be used after the Kits base is closed.
Read this article by Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun. Excerpt: “Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has washed its hands of environmental assessments of nearly 500 projects in B.C. as a result of a revised Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
“The 492 wide-ranging projects include gravel extraction on the lower Fraser River, run-of-river hydro projects and wind farms, bridge construction as well as demolition of the old Port Mann Bridge, shellfish aquaculture operations, hazardous-waste facilities and liquid-waste disposal.
“Ottawa is also walking away from conducting assessments on various agricultural and municipal drainage works, log-handling facilities, small-craft harbour and marina development and expansion, the sinking of ex-warships as artificial reefs, the disposal of dredged material, and a 73-hectare mixed-use development on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.” (August 22, 2012)
Read this article by Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun. Excerpt: “Environmental charity Ecojustice went to B.C. Supreme Court to seek a judicial review of the province’s failure to conduct a formal environmental assessment on the Holmes hydro power project near McBride.
“The legal action, taken on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society, argues that 10 linked hydro plants will together generate 85 megawatts of electricity.
“But because no individual plant would generate more than 50 megawatts – the threshold for triggering an environmental assessment – none were ordered.” (August 23, 2012)
Read this column by Vaughn Palmer in the Vancouver Sun about the lack of substance in the Liberal Party of BC’s “good for business” claims and Premier Christy Clark’s job creation talk. When they were asked for help by Catalyst Paper, they weren’t interested.
Read more: Clark has mishandled Catalyst Paper file
A response from chiefs of five First Nations to the patronizing accusation made by Peter Foster in the Vancouver Sun that they are being manipulated by environmentalists to oppose the Enbridge pipeline. “The lands and rivers which the proposed Enbridge pipeline would cross
are habitat for moose, grizzly bears, salmon, deer, migratory birds, and
other wildlife. Our food, stories, ceremonies, and our entire culture
is tied to the land and the wildlife it supports – a spill could
devastate our way of life.” Read article
Op-ed by Stephen Hume in the Vancouver Sun. “Contrary to public opinion, May 2 vote is not about nothing, it’s
about ethics, and how and by whom Canadians want to be governed.” Read article
From the Vancouver Sun – Feb 4, 2011
by Kelly Sinoski
Mega-sized homes could eat into land reserved for food production, officials fear
How much did the value of your Metro Vancouver home rise in the last five years? Find out in our pictoral analysis here.
METRO VANCOUVER — Metro Vancouver has asked the provincial government to help curb a proliferation of mega-sized estate homes that continue to sprawl across the region’s prime agricultural land.
The issue was part of a discussion Thursday about the region’s draft food strategy.
Metro directors fear the large homes, some as big as 15,000 square feet on five- and 10-acre lots and often coupled with tennis courts, swimming pools and illegal secondary suites, will lead to the loss of valuable agricultural land for future food production.
“When you have huge mansions, you can’t do anything with that, and potentially that land will never be farmed again,” said Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean, who also sits on Metro’s agricultural committee. “We don’t have an issue with estate homes — if they’re in the city. But we really think that if this continues we’ll lose critical mass for farming.
“If the ALR is there for a purpose, [the province] should be defending the uses of it.”
The B.C. Agriculture Ministry said it agrees with Metro’s concerns and last month released a draft discussion paper aimed at helping local governments regulate residential uses on ALR land.
The paper, considered by Metro’s agriculture committee Thursday, suggests limits could be applied to the size, scale and siting of the farm’s “home plate” — the footprint for residential uses and the house itself. A large house not only increases the cost of agricultural property — making it unaffordable for new farmers — but if it’s in the middle of the parcel, rather than at the front of the lot near the road or in a corner of the property, there’s less land available for farming.
Metro has asked staff to come back with recommendations on the home plate issue by March 3.
“We do share [Metro’s] concerns, particularly if large homes in a community can only be built in farming areas,” said Bert van Dalfsen, the agriculture ministry’s manager of strengthening farm programs. “We don’t want to have a lot of large homes on farmland.”
At the moment, Metro municipalities take an ad hoc approach when it comes to ALR land. Although Delta restricts homes in the ALR to the maximum size permitted in urban areas, others are at a loss when residents apply to build a mega home in the middle of a five-acre lot, an illegal suite over a barn or to cover prime farmland with a tennis court.
Yet any attempts to put restrictions in place are met with vocal opposition from residents, many of whom have built the larger homes for recreation or hobby farms.
Pitt Meadows, for instance, abandoned its plans to impose a home plate limit of 11,000 square feet on a 10-acre property after a public outcry. It has since approved a bylaw requiring all applications for secondary homes on ALR land to undergo an agrologist assessment to justify the claim that they’re needed to house farm workers.
“We have very, very good land and we want to maintain that land,” MacLean said, adding 85 per cent of Pitt Meadows is in the ALR. “People are looking at this as a property rights issue. We’re saying, ‘You’re in a special use area. If you tried to put up a home that went corner to corner to corner in Vancouver, somebody would come along and say you can’t have a permit for that.”
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