Farmland in Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)

Province looking to relax residential restrictions on agricultural land

Chilliwack farmer cautions that some aspects could open Agricultural Land Reserve up to speculation

The provincial government is looking at loosening up some of the residential rules in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

If the proposed changes go ahead, landowners in the ALR would be permitted to have a principal residence, and a small secondary residence like a garden suite or carriage house, with local government approval.

“We are continuing to do the work necessary to help farmers farm and protect farmland for future generations,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, in the release.

“The proposed changes, if implemented, would provide additional residential flexibility in the ALR.”

READ MORE: FV family in limbo over secondary residence

Farmers would no longer be restricted to a manufactured home to be used specifically by a family member, approved by the Agricultural Land Commission and local government.

“Under the proposal, a small secondary residence would be available for farm-workers, family members or anyone else, provided there is local government approval,” the minister said.

Chris Kloot, a Chilliwack city councillor and farmer, said he was “encouraged and appreciative” that the government is listening to farmers’ concerns about the restrictive rules.

“They are recognizing that farming, in areas where land prices are high, will often see them operating as a family unit,” Kloot said, he can see the need for residence options from a multi-generational farming perspective.

“It is only appropriate for those who put sweat equity into a family farm should be able to stay on it, and provide that wealth of knowledge,” Kloot added.

READ MORE: City councillor sat on ALR revitalization committee

The regulatory changes would allow landowners to have both a principal residence and a small secondary home on the property, with approval by local government. One aspect that is changing is that property owners would not be required to get ALC approval as well.

Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove sees the wisdom in it.

“The 2019 changes to the ALC legislation that effectively banned second homes on properties in the ALR had a significant negative impact on our farming community,” Popove said. “It is important for farmers, family members and other farm workers to live on their farms.”

He wrote to Ag Minister Popham to express concerns.

“I am encouraged that the Ministry of Agriculture appears to be listening. I hope their proposed changes result in a positive outcome for Chilliwack’s agricultural community.”

The new ALR residential options and conditions such as size, siting, and quantity being considered by government include:

• garden suites, guest houses or carriage suites;

• accommodation above an existing building;

• manufactured homes; and

•permitting a principal residence to be constructed in addition to a manufactured home that was formerly a principal residence.

One note of caution Coun. Kloot had was that the changes could open the ALR to speculation.

The city councillor who chairs the agricultural advisory committee said he was pleased that they are opening the discussion up on residential flexibility for farmers, but he was concerned in the news release that the options would be open to workers, farmers, or anybody else.

The press release noted the government is considering these changes in order to support both “farmers and non-farmers” living in the ALR.

“To open it to those who have no farming intent, that does concern me, and I will be sharing that concern in my feedback,” Kloot underlined.

To comment on the proposed changes send feedback by April 17, 2020, via email: [email protected]

See the details on Residential Flexibility in the ALR: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/agricultural-land-and-environment/agricultural-land-reserve


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
[email protected]


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

FarmingHousing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Cascade’s author talk will discuss potlatch history, education

Davidson’s history and education come together for informative presentation

Homeless count is coming to the Fraser Valley to help track the numbers

Training Feb. 27 in Chilliwack to help volunteers adopt respectful and compassionate approach

Mya Onos gears up for B.C. Winter Games

The decorated speed skater starts competing Friday

REAL ESTATE: The affordability crisis within the BC land market

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks says new buyers are outside looking in with B.C.’s high market

UPDATE: ‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

VIDEO: Giants Winning Streak Ends At 11 After a 2-1 Setback Saturday in Everett

Run of wins matched their longest ever regular season winning streak

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Most Read