Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Farms Need Help Not Development

The policy choices of our government are to blame for the battle between those who would keep our farmlands and our wildlands intact for future generations and those who will build massive structures over every square inch for nothing but profit if we let them.

Our governments routinely collect huge but understated surpluses. If we had a provincial GDP of -1% this next year our surplus would still be two billion dollars. Instead of using this bonus creatively to fund the things people need our government uses it to pay down the debt. This is wasteful. Do you pay off your whole mortgage every year? No! You pay a certain amount regularly on the mortgage and you use the remainder of your available funds for things your family needs like efficient appliances, a new hybrid car etc.

Our government could be using that huge surplus to buy up all the farmland at something near the going rate and hand it over to municipalities who could then lease it back to farmers to grow our food supply.

This would give the municipalities both income and incentive to protect farmlands. It would give farmers who wish to retire fair recompense for their land and it would make farming more economical for those who continue to till the fields.

This is only one idea and it came from a wise Central Saanich farmer I know. I bet there are more great ideas out there for using our surplus to sustain us. We need a return to the practical creativity that gave us the Agricultural Land Reserve in the first place.

No comments: