Archive for Gateway

Oct 10 – Dig In for Climate Justice

Join the 10/10/10 Global Work Party to stop global warming. In the Lower Mainland join the party and work to bag sand from the proposed South Fraser Freeway to raise the dykes protecting nearby communities.

WHEN: Meet at 2:00 p.m. PDT
WHERE: Scott Road Skytrain Station (east side at taxi stand) then march to 129th St. and 115b Ave in North Surrey – near Bridgeview Elementary School (map:
Featuring The Carnival Band, Solidarity Notes Labour Choir, special guest speakers, refreshments and more!
For more info see


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Ancient History could be paved – Province Oct 1, 2010

Brian Lewis visited North Delta on Tuesday and met with residents and UBC Archaeology Professor RG Matson.  His story was published today:

There’s a vacant piece of property on the Fraser River’s southern bank, slightly upstream from the Alex Fraser Bridge, that looks remarkably ordinary.

However, this changes abruptly once R.G. Matson, a professor emeritus in archeology from the University of B.C., explains what’s beneath your feet.

What you are actually standing on is abundant evidence of human history that stretches back before the days of Stonehenge in the U. K or the pyramids in Egypt.

This is the Glenrose Cannery archeological site in North Delta, where since 1969 scientists have dug deep into its earth and discovered artifacts and other remains that confirm that ancient First Nations peoples were using this location as a temporary summer food-gathering place as long as 9,000 years ago.

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Another 500 Acres of Farmland for Gateway Freeway Construction

500 acres of prime farmland in the Chilliwack River Valley was not included in the environmental assessment, or in the original Gateway projections of the amount of farmland it would destroy… because it isn’t being paved over. Not exactly.

This land, which we can see thanks to the photography of Susan Federspiel (of the Chilliwack River Valley Ratepayers Association)!/album.php?aid=13195&id=100000687315915&ref=mf

The theory is that the soil will be removed, the gravel extracted, and the soil lovingly replaced, so that agriculture can flourish. The reality is that there is not one known example in BC history where gravel extraction on farmland has not been to the detriment of agriculture.

In 2009 the United Nations declared the world is in a food security crisis, and BC literally plows along destroying farmland as though it were in infinite supply.

The Farmland Defence League and Gateway 40 Citizens Network are supporting the call for a review of the Agricultural Land Commission’s decision to allow gravel extraction on this site. To lend your voice to this effort, email:

Steve Thomson, Agriculture Minister
Or call his office –
Shirley Bond, Transportation Minister
Tony Pellett, Regional Planner, Agricultural Land Commission
Agriculture Critic Lana Popham
Transportation Critic Harry Brar

And copy your local newspaper – and the Minister’s local papers…
Kelowna Courier Editor –
Kelowna Capital News Editor –

And copy the Farmland Defence League –

For more information on Gateway, see Stop Gateway group on Facebook

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Town Hall Meeting – Jan 16 2010

The True Costs of the South Fraser Perimeter Road

Join the South Fraser Action Network for a townhall meeting focusing on the effects of the South Fraser Perimeter Road. There will be a group of speakers followed by a chance to ask questions and voice your concerns.

Saturday, January 16

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Sundance Banquet Hall

6574 Ladner Trunk Rd.

Speakers include:

Harold Steves, co-founder of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Farmland Defence League.

Stephen Rees, transportation economist and planner (ret.), blogger.

Eric Doherty, transportation planning consultant

Alexandria Mitchell, high school student and Copenhagen Climate Change Conference delegate.

Graeme Drew will be moderating.

Topics will include the social, environmental and economic impacts of the road, as well as actions you can take to help save Delta from the SFPR.

Have Concerns? Come Have Your Say!

All of Delta’s elected officials have been invited, come let them hear your opinion.

It is not a done deal. This road can be stopped.

For more information call Anita den Dikken at 604 948 0139.

Caption for farmland image:

Delta farmland being covered with preload in preparation for the SFPR. November, 2009.

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Gateway & Farmland – Part 2

On May 2, 2006, then Minister of Agriculture, Pat Bell rescinded the appointment of Bill Jones to the South Coast Panel of the Agricultural Land Commission because Mr. Jones had made a comment on an exclusion application. In rescinding the appointment, Minister Bell stated, “Keeping in mind that the Agricultural Land Commission is a quasi –judicial body, and we need to ensure that it is being seen as an impartial body…”

The ALC only introduced its Conflict of Interest guidelines in March, when one of the panelists was found to be in direct conflict of interest and a decision of the Commission had to be reversed. But the BC Crown Agency Accountability guidelines would have covered Karlsen before that, and I believe by those he is clearly in a conflict of interest.

Remember – Pat Bell rescinded Bill Jones’ appointment to the South Coast Panel 2006 because Jones had made statements supporting one proposal. Karlsen was one of the authors of what is the original Gateway Project, and he is in a wildly obvious conflict of interest.

it appears that with the exception of 3 or 4 caucus members, the BC NDP under Carol James are simply not willing to fight for farmland.

So Campbell gets a Gateway supporter ensconsed as Chair of the Commission, he stacks the panels with party loyalists, like John Tomlinson (Langley Chamber of Commerce)…

I’ll attach to the next email the article “the Delta Boys” – which is as relevant today as it was back when Spedifore lands were removed from the ALR. A couple of the names have changed, but that’s all. They are still Socred/Liberal community power brokers, including John Savage and Ron Toigo. This impact of these good ol boys on the politics of farming is such that most of the farmers in Delta are terrified to speak up.

Enter lawyer and cranberry farmer Ralph May. Member of the Liberal Party executive in Richmond, but active in Delta because he has cranberry farms there.

Tony Pellett of the ALC told me that the Gateway Project was good for farming, because the province was putting money into drainage and dyking. When we gave Green Party Leader Jane Sterk a tour of the SFPR last year we visited the Hamming Farm. The Hammings told me that the Gateway mitigation measures will have no benefit for most Delta farmers, but will be of benefit to “a select few”. Harold Steves – who considers Ralph May a friend, they have been fellow Richmond farmers for many years and there is no ill will involved – says that the May cranberry farms benefits the most.

That’s a problem, given that May was the negotiator with the province on behalf of the farmers.

The Commission is supposed to operate at an arms’ length from the government. Yet, when Larry Pynn wrote the attached piece pointing out that the Gateway boys had started construction even before the Commission had ruled, the Commission issued its decision later that day.

Farmers along SFPR.pdf

ALC Conditionally approves SFPR.pdf

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Gateway & Farmland (Part 1)

Not wanting to sound radical or alarmist, we’ve all been reluctant to use the “c” word. The evidence is simply overwhelming and we can no longer ignore the reality that the Agricultural Land Commission is conspiring with the Campbell government to destroy the ALR, and the Gateway Project is one of the key mechanisms.

Every fear that we have ever had about the Gateway Project’s impact on agriculture is coming true – but in mere months instead of years.

1. Erik Karlsen – The Gateway Project was announced on January 31, 2005. Erik Karlsen was hired as the Chair of the ALC on April 1, 2005. When Harold and I met with the Commission in mid-April, Erik was boasting about how he was on staff at the Lower Mainland Planning Board and helped write the “Delta Plan” back in 1968. He also indicated that he carries “the Delta Plan” around in his briefcase.

He further indicated (as he did during the FDL dinner in July 2008) that he felt sorry for the farmers who were locked into the ALR. (Damien – I desperately need that video clip, if you still have it).

The references to the Delta Plan didn’t mean anything to me – but they sure did to Harold. He went home and dug out his copy of the Plan and sure enough, there was Erik’s name.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the Delta Plan is the short name for the Official Regional Plan proposed by regional staff back in 1968, and was one of the events that drove the creation of the ALR. It was, so to speak, the original Gateway plan – called for massive expansion of port and highways and industrialization through Delta. The 58 page report (and in the 2nd email, I’ll attach a few pages) makes only one reference to agriculture, and in the covering letter clearly indicates that the plan is seen as necessary to prevent “large land reserves”.

Although staff proposed “the Delta Plan”, the Lower Mainland Planning Board rejected it. The WAC Bennett government disbanded the Planning Board, a move that contributed to its defeat in the subsequent provincial election.

Since the ALR’s creation in 1973, any time a version of Gateway Project was floated, the ALC has rejected it, in keeping with its mandate.

It now appears Campbell had no intention of letting that happen, so he put in a Chair of the ALC who would facilitate Gateway.

I’m attaching a link from the BC Civil Liberties Association web page on conflict of interest, by which definition I believe Erik Karlsen has been in a clear conflict of interest.
Karlsen appointment news release.pdf
Our Southwestern Shores 1.pdf
Our Southwestern Shores – with staff list – 2.pdf
Our Southwestern Shores – summary – 3.pdf
Our Southwestern Shores 4.pdf

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News Release: BC Government Ignores Land Commission Conditions on SFPR

image001the Farmland Defence League of BC

For Immediate Release:

November 2, 2009


BC] The Agricultural Land Commission placed very minimal conditions last December on the approval it granted to the Campbell government to destroy 90 hectares of prime farmland in Delta for the South Fraser Perimeter Road, but the government has ignored even those conditions.


“The Ministry of Transportation started pre-filling immediately, and destroyed more than 70 acres, some of prime soil,” says Donna Passmore, Campaign Director for the Farmland Defence League. “The agricultural capability of the farms along Burns Bog will be classes 1-3, prime soils. On the threshold of a global food security crisis, it is criminal that this great soil was sacrificed to the government’s asphalt mentality.”

Photo of land between Highway 99 & Burns Bog

Photos taken by the Farmland Defence League reveal that the Ministry of Transportation didn’t even remove foliage, let alone top soil. Given that the top soil was not salvaged, it doesn’t appear that an agrologist was in place to oversee the removal.

“The Ministry of Transportation began prefilling immediately,” says Passmore. “it exhibited callous disregard for the Land Commission, food security and the 89% of British Columbians who have said no to paving farmland. Equally disturbing, it doesn’t appear the ALC bothered to monitor what was happening to this farmland.”

Established in 1978, the Farmland Defence League of BC is a province-wide network of groups and individuals advocating the protection of farmland and sustainable food systems.

– 30 –

For more information:

Donna Passmore 604-536-2790

Campaign Director

Donna Passmore

ALC Conditionally approves SFPR.pdf

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