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The Agricultural Land Reserver (alr), Food Security - And Similar Topics


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#21 Bernard

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:31 PM

^Nice! In an appeal to authority, you link to your own blog!...


Since I wrote about the stuff before, I thought it would be easier just to offer the links. I never meant for anyone to think it was anything other than my opinion, my apologies if anyone took it that way

#22 Bernard

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:36 PM

When you go to the store and buy fruit and veg, the majority of the fuel used to get the produce there is from you driving to and from the store.

The amount of fuel used to truck up produce from California to BC is minuscule per pound of produce. If fuel were to rise to ten times as much as now, the relative cost per pound of produce would rise about 10 cents.

Fuel cost to ship things via a ship is so low that even a higher rise in fuel would have almost no impact on the price.

#23 yodsaker

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:07 PM

It was pointed out to me once that the ALR can also be unjust.
Guys who owned 3rd rate land on the peninsula full of stumps and rocks but on a slope got to sell expensive view lots and winter in Arizona from the age of 50.
The "lucky" ones with the good, flat land get to keep breaking their asses forever up against all the uncertainties of farming

#24 Bernard

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:21 PM

It was pointed out to me once that the ALR can also be unjust.
Guys who owned 3rd rate land on the peninsula full of stumps and rocks but on a slope got to sell expensive view lots and winter in Arizona from the age of 50.
The "lucky" ones with the good, flat land get to keep breaking their asses forever up against all the uncertainties of farming


When the ALR was created in 1974 it was done quickly without reviewing what the land was actually like. There have been revisions and there is a process for removing your land from the ALR because it should never have been in the ALR.

#25 groundlevel

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:50 PM

seaweed, crabs, cod, salmon, clams, mussels, oysters.
we live on an island. surrounded by the ocean.
yum.yum!
hook and line, crab pot, clam gun.

maybe agriculture is overrated?

#26 sebberry

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:13 PM

seaweed, crabs, cod, salmon, clams, mussels, oysters.
we live on an island. surrounded by the ocean.
yum.yum!
hook and line, crab pot, clam gun.

maybe agriculture is overrated?


Shhh! Don't wake the vegans :P

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#27 piltdownman

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:30 PM

^Sadly most of the salmon is Alaskan or farmed. In fact most of the time when you buy Salmon at the dock it gets delivered there in the back of a truck.

#28 jklymak

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:42 PM

I'm tired of everyone throwing out the "it's not sutainable" argument for doing something against the forces of pure economics. God damn it, if it's not sustainable, it'll fail. Then we'll do it differently. If it's so freakin' unsustainable, then we ought to sit back and watch it fail. We need not take any action against it - if it is unsustainable the way it's being done now, it follows that into the future, that will not be the way. Why tamper with it pre-emptively? Why not let market forces and the private sector identify what is being done unsustainably, and allow them to innovate to create new ways?


I imagine the Easter Islanders felt much the same way about their wood supply - hey, there are lots of trees, seems like an infinite supply, so we don't need to conserve, and besides, we have pretty good trade relations with the guys on the other side of the island, and we can always get them to give us some wood. Unfortunately, the guys on the other side thought the same way, and felt that even if their path were unsustainable, market forces would kick in and force them to start to conserve, but, hey, why do so pre-emptively?

The fact is, arable land is not an infinite resource, even if it seems so to us in Canada. I would expect there are land use pressures on Californians and Chilean farmers. You do understand that by "market forces" you mean that the future value growing crops would have to exceed the present value of money garnered from developing land? That is almost an impossible bar, so any individual farmer will always sell their land if they can.

Anyways, I'm not an expert on any of this. I'm sure there are more knowledgeable people to jump in and explain why land use laws are beneficial. However, I am pretty skeptical that market forces will yield the most efficient outcome for society.

#29 Bernard

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 08:37 AM

Agriculture in BC is something I do know about. There really is no danger at all to running out of land to grow food in this area or in BC in general.

The reason we do not grow food on Vancouver Island is that farmers need a much higher price for their food than they can get in the market. The cost of transport around the globe is a very minor cost of the food you eat. Produce from Mexico is competing with local production.

The last 20 years has also seen dramatic improvements in the cold storage technology. This means produce can be stored longer and keep better than ever before. If you notice, California strawberries are actually tasting pretty good these days - just grab some and take a smell.

The large agri-businesses means we get cheaper food and in most cases with fewer chemicals in the mix. Over and over again it has been shown that small niche farmers and large agri-business farms use dramatically fewer chemicals than mid sized farms.

Importation from developing countries also means you will get food with fewer chemicals. A country like Argentina has no agricultural subsidies. In North America and Europe the major impact of subsidies has been higher chemical use. When New Zealand got rid of all their subsidies, chemical use in agriculture went way down.

So my major points are:

1) There is no danger at all that in the next several centuries that we will run low on farm land in BC

2) Food from other countries is not worse for the environment than local food.

#30 jklymak

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 09:16 AM

^ I'll take your word on it, though it would be nice if there were literature that demonstrates what you are saying.

This doesn't detract from the usefulness of the ALR in reducing sprawl; Victoria, Vancouver, Portland are all more compact than other modern west coast cities because they have not emphasized freeways and they have urban containment boundaries. Sure there is still sprawl in all of them, but they also all have vital and dense downtown cores. Feel free to change its name if you don't like the idea of an ALR.

#31 Holden West

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 09:26 AM

Beyond limiting sprawl, I appreciate the ALR for diversifying the landscape. The peninsula would be boring if it were divided only between forested parks and built-up areas.
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#32 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 09:29 AM

I like rural area too. But then I shake my head when politicians and citizens complain that there is no "affordable" housing, how our children will not be able to afford a HOUSE here. That's right folks, if we limit supply of land, that drives up the cost of housing, that's pretty simple. You can't have it both ways.

#33 Bernard

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:16 AM

I do not have links to the data you would want to see, I have PDF and hardcopy reports here in my office of some of the stuff, other of it I have not needed to have and it is not easily accessible. I will try to put some stuff here if I can find it

Rodale Institute on what happened in New Zealand - they are the publishers of Organic Gardening

Here is a piece that has some information

I would write more, but I have to run

#34 jklymak

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:17 AM

^^ Well, it drives up the cost of developable land, which allows it to be profitable to build higher density housing. Why is it a birthright to own a HOUSE? I certainly agree that anyone who doesn't realize that an ALR will mean higher housing prices needs to give their head a shake. However, if it means a better city on the whole, I for one am willing to pay extra to live here.

#35 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:33 AM

^^ Well, it drives up the cost of developable land, which allows it to be profitable to build higher density housing. Why is it a birthright to own a HOUSE? I certainly agree that anyone who doesn't realize that an ALR will mean higher housing prices needs to give their head a shake. However, if it means a better city on the whole, I for one am willing to pay extra to live here.


The fact is, most everyone desires to own a house. New Yorkers might find that strange, but it's true for anyone that lives around here. I don't think I have a single friend that didn't grow up in a family house.

#36 jklymak

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:46 AM

^ maybe - that is certainly the 1950-1970's ideal. I grew up in a family house. My dad drives everywhere - I doubt he has ever taken a bus in his life. He won't park in underground garages. His generation was the automobile generation - they wanted a big yard and two car garage.

I think NA culture is changing though. We look at Manhattan or downtown Vancouver, and we think how nice it must be to walk to dozens of excellent restaurants, movie theaters, bars, grocery stores etc. Its not unthinkable anymore to raise your kids in an apartment. Many of the people in our condo could afford an SFH in Victoria, we certainly could, but we choose to live downtown.

There are plenty of places you can move to buy a cheap SFH. I don't think city planning or land use policy should have that as a goal.

#37 G-Man

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 11:21 AM

One option that I have not seen emphasized enough and has not been tried in Victoria is real rowhousing. I don't mean strata townhouses but rather individual homes built right next to each other with dual firewalls and a property line in between. There are many places near downtown that could easily have this sort of development.

The benefit is that it is higher denisty than SFD's you don't have to be in a stupid strata and you can still have a yard in the back.

#38 Holden West

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 11:39 AM

^I've always wondered that. Could it be that it's because so many of Victoria's historical immigrants came here to escape the worst terraced housing that symbolized European slums?
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#39 G-Man

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:16 PM

But that is not a reason not to do it now.

#40 aastra

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:27 PM

I don't think I have a single friend that didn't grow up in a family house.

Seriously? When I was little I knew many kids who lived in apartments and townhouses.

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