Eyes in the sky have a future for BC farmland, minister says – Saanich News
More than a year after protests erupted over a plan to use radar satellites to monitor farmland use in southern British Columbia, this project has not returned, but satellite imagery is increasingly used in agriculture.
Asked during the last debate on her ministry’s budget for 2021-2022, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham did not rule out an effort to monitor agricultural land from the sky for non-agricultural purposes, after the allocation of ‘a contract with a British Columbia satellite pioneer, then quickly. removed after being revealed on the province’s BC Bid website at the end of 2019.
The contract announcement made it clear that a pilot project had been awarded to British Columbia-based MDA without a public tender, so that monitoring of an unspecified area of southern British Columbia could be carried out. without notifying those who might use the farmland reserve ownership for non-conforming purposes. .
“I’m just wondering if satellites are still something of concern to us in British Columbia, with the Farmlands Commission using satellite images of our farms and ranches in British Columbia in enforcing their bylaws. to detect everything they try. detect with housing, truck parking, different things like that, ”BC Liberal agriculture critic Ian Paton asked Popham in June. “Are the satellites still on the table? “
Popham replied that she was not aware of any current contracts with MDA, formerly McDonald Dettwiler and Associates, a Richmond-based radar imagery pioneer who has since pursued space exploration work.
“The particular project that the member is talking about never came to fruition, but I can say that there are a lot of other projects that are probably ongoing and underway,” Popham said. “I am sure the hon. Member knows that satellite imagery is constantly used for land use planning. Google Earth, for example, tracks changes on the Earth base. The Ministry of Forests uses it. Many government departments that rely on data collected from the Earth’s surface use this type of imagery.
Popham said agricultural technology companies are also finding applications for drones to monitor vineyards for early disease detection. “As we move into an increasingly agro-tech world, we’re going to see technology like this being used. “
Agricultural Land Reserve British Columbia Legislature Policy