Council voted late Monday night to ask for the removal of farmland in Bradner and to the northwest of Abbotsford International Airport from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The modified proposal excludes land that features high-quality soils that had been under consideration to the northeast of the airport, but includes a block of land in Bradner that had been the focus of fierce opposition by local residents.
Mayor Henry Braun and Couns. Les Barkman, Brenda Falk, Sandy Blue, Moe Gill, Dave Loewen, Kelly Chahal and Ross Siemens voted in favour of the plan. Most cited the need to provide a home to new job-creating industries as Abbotsford grows over the coming decades, and said agriculture would be protected through a range of other programs and initiatives, including the AgRefresh process.
Coun. Patricia Ross cast the lone vote against the plan, saying she wasn’t convinced that more industrial land would end up creating jobs in a rapidly shifting world.
Staff will now prepare an application for the city to send to the Agricultural Land Commission, which will get the final say on the issue.