ALR changes face questions in the B.C. Legislature
New Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has expressed concern about Bill 24
There may be some tough questions looming for the government over proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve when the B.C. Legislature resumes sitting Monday after a two-week break.
Last month before the break, then-agriculture minister Pat Pimm proposed dividing B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve into two agricultural land zones.
Under the proposal prime farmland in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan would see little change, but farmland in much of B.C.'s Interior would see restrictions loosened to allow for more non-farming activities like oil and gas development.
But Pimm was since replaced as the agriculture minster by Kelowna Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, who has expressed concern about Bill 24.
Letnick has even floated the idea of pausing or withdrawing the plan, but that idea was quickly dismissed by Energy Minister Bill Bennett, who's been championing the changes as part of the government's core review.
NDP critic Nick Simons suspects Letnick isn't the only Liberal MLA with concerns.
"I've been talking to members of the government caucus about this, and my sense is that they're concerned about the legislation as well and I just hope that they have the strength to stand up to the minister. This was done badly," said Simons.
However government officials insist there are no plans to pull the legislation, but suggest there may be some fine tuning.
With files from Stephen Smart