City of Surrey staff will assess all farmland with a view to protecting it – North Delta Reporter
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has asked city staff to assess all agricultural ‘food production land’ in the city with a view to protecting it ‘with the aim of meeting future food security needs’ .
His motion was passed by council on Monday night.
McCallum added that because protecting “high yielding” farmland is fundamental to ensuring food security in Surrey, he also proposed that 220 acres of “exceptionally fertile” farmland at 192 Street and 36 Avenue be designated as farming as part of the official community. The review of the plan will take place next year.
“Furthermore, I am proposing that the city work with the federal and provincial governments to have this land incorporated into the farmland reserve,” he said. This was also adopted.
Com. Linda Annis noted that South Surrey’s 220 acres are “extremely valuable” in that they produce the “first and foremost” root vegetables in all of Western Canada and supply vegetables to much of Western Canada. .
“So this is fantastic news, so thank you for bringing this motion forward,” she told McCallum. “I know the land is for sale, it’s federal government surplus land, so hopefully in the work that the city will do with the federal government and the provincial government, it’s not just to put in the ALR, but also to guarantee its purchase or for the feds to retain ownership of it just to make sure it stays in the ALR in perpetuity.
Com. Brenda Locke said she would have preferred this to be presented to the board in the form of an “appropriately described corporate report that outlines the process and I think we’re just a bit ahead of us on this motion, although I will obviously support this.”
If Surrey thinks they’ll buy the land, she says, “we’re almost fourth. First Nations come first, then the province, then the city.
Com. Steven Pettigrew said he was “very excited” to see council supporting McCallum’s motion and asking staff to assess the town’s farmland “and see if we can preserve it.”
Com. Laurie Guerra said “it’s the right thing to do, at the right time to do it. What we can do as a city is work on zoning, that’s what we have the power to do .
McCallum noted that the city cannot put the 220 acres into the ALR because it must be done by the landowner, in this case the federal government.
“And that’s why the wording of this motion is to work with the federal government and the provincial government to at least let them know our intent, that we believe our citizens want to see this land used.”
Farmland ReserveAgricultureCity of SurreyFood