Surrey city council, despite being encumbered with dysfunction bordering on the legendary, got behind a motion presented by Mayor Doug McCallum on Monday that would do any government proud.
McCallum asked city staff to assess the city’s agricultural “food-producing land” with a view toward protecting it “with the purpose of addressing future food security requirements.” He also moved that 220 acres of “exceptionally fertile” farmland in South Surrey be designated agricultural as part of next year’s Official Community Plan review.
Protecting agricultural land from industrial development is sound wisdom considering we all need to eat to live.
Of course, there is a civic election coming up, and this is a canny move on McCallum’s part to score some good will among voters.
But politics aside, it’s also the right thing to do and whether he is re-elected or retired from politics on Oct. 15, this should serve as a fine legacy for him at any rate.
Council as a whole presented a rare united front on McCallum’s motion before the electioneering storm clouds once again rolled in, with rival slate Surrey Connect issuing a press release charging that this “disingenuous” and “public ham-fisted” approach might actually jeopardize future negotiations in the absence of a strategic plan to preserve the land for agricultural purposes.
Whether Surrey Connect has a valid point, or is trying to make lemons out of lemonade, remains to be seen. In the meantime, protecting food-producing land from industrial development is simply good public policy.