Tell the government “Hands Off”
• Normally, CBC Radio’s Provincial Affairs segment consists of four minutes of free broadcast time given to BC’s “major political parties.” Thankfully, CBC did not forget the people of Delta South. As your Independent MLA, I was pleased to take a few minutes and share with BC some of the long-term concerns we face in Delta and which are so close to my heart. – Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta South. Her April 9, 2014, segment on CBC Radio’s Provincial Affairs follows below.
Good Morning, this is Vicki Huntington speaking. As the MLA for Delta South, I’ve had the great privilege of being the first independent in the history of the province to be re-elected. My riding of South Delta is home to Ladner and Tsawwassen and is one of BC’s most productive farming communities. They have the largest industrial zones in Metro Vancouver and host the largest 24-hour ferry terminal in the world, the largest container port in Canada and the largest coal export terminal in North America. It also has Burns Bog and western Canada’s largest landfill. Delta is surrounded by the Fraser River, Boundary Bay and Roberts Bank.
Delta is a complex, fascinating community, and part of Delta’s fascination is that it is also home to one of the greatest wildlife migrations in the world. Our agricultural lands, the Fraser River Delta and the mudflats of the foreshore combine to create a great ecosystem that supports millions upon millions of waterfowl and shorebirds on their great journeys north to summer breeding grounds and south to their wintering meccas.
As I speak, the great migration is underway, and it is a sight that fills the soul with beauty, wonder and mystery; dunlins swooping over the mudflats, the world’s entire population of western sandpipers guzzling the rare biofilms deposited by the Fraser River, plovers gorging before their long flight, American wigeon and mallards in their thousands gathering to leave the Delta farmlands that have supported them over the winter. They are joined in their journey by 100,000 snow geese and hundreds of tundra and trumpeter swans – millions of birds dependent on Delta’s agricultural land and the clean, undisturbed Fraser River Delta.
All of it is threatened, and as usual the threat comes from man’s inability to find balance. His quest is always for more and, in the end, the quest destroys those gifts of nature that give wonder to life and that enrich our humanity.
Port Metro Vancouver hopes to double the size of DeltaPort and is relentless in its drive to turn the finest agricultural soil in North America into an industrial park. In Delta, the Gateway strategy has consumed 1,000 acres of agricultural land for highways, access road, overpasses, rights-of-way, the quadrupling of railroad tracks and the purchase of agricultural land for port-related purposes. The provincial government has approved a jet fuel terminal near the mouth of the Fraser River. A catastrophe could kill off the salmon nursery of the Fraser and contaminate the foreshore of Roberts and Sturgeon Banks. Developers have optioned 450 acres of prime soil and hope to build an industrial park to service the port. The Tsawwassen Treaty removed hundreds of acres from the ALR. An industrial park is now at the entrance to the port. The municipality is approving residential developments in agriculturally capable soil.
And now the province has introduced Bill 24, the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act. This act is a direct threat to the agricultural land in this province. It opens the door to development on 90% of the land in BC and it’s an insidious piece of legislation.
I fear for this wonderfully rich place called Delta. We need your help to protect the lands that support so much life and the lands which produce so much of our food. The security of both depends on us.
Send a message to Premier Christy Clark by signing the petition “Hands off BC’s Agricultural Land Commission.” Go to www.change.org and search for Bill 24.
Vicki Huntington is the only independent MLA in BC history to have been re-elected for a second term.