Agricultural panel named for B.C. Interior

A member of a ranching family with roots going back a century has been reappointed

By Cam Fortems

Kamloops This Week

A member of a ranching family with roots going back a century has been reappointed as a member of the new regional agricultural land commission’s Interior panel.

Lucille Dempsey, part of the family that operates Frolek Cattle Co., is one of three members of the Interior panel, along with Gordon Gillette and Richard Mumford, both Cariboo agriculturalists.

The panels were named on Wednesday (Oct. 9) by Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.

A return to regional panels first instituted under the Gordon Campbell government and later abandoned is part of controversial change to the Agricultural Land Reserve by the current Liberal government under Premier Christy Clark.

Starting five years ago, Dempsey served under the Interior regional panel, moved to the province-wide board along with the changes and is now back on the regional panel.

“You have to follow Victoria’s dictates and we’ll make it work,” she said.

“We’ve been there before.”

Those changes include a two-zone ALR, with more opportunity for development on farmland in parts of the province, including the Thompson Valley, Central Interior and North.

Important or locally-controversial decisions can be kicked upstairs to the agricultural land commission’s executive committee. That call to move it to a higher level can be made by regional panels or by the commission’s director.

“I think the public has spoken. They want to see agricultural land protected,” Dempsey said.

“I think more and more people are very cognizant of where their food comes from.”

Dempsey said it’s too early to speculate about the impact of the changes on the commission and farmland.

She said the biggest question mark is the regulations that have yet to come down to accompany the legislative changes.