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: ALR_ALCRevitalization@gov.bc.ca

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:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@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

File Photo
District of Kent hopeful for transporation grant

Staff directed to apply for $10K grant for infrastructure projects

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

Jennifer Greggain has accepted a new role with Golf Canada, coaching the country’s top junior athletes. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack’s Jennifer Greggain gets new role with Golf Canada

Greggain is now one of two people guiding the country’s top junior golfers

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Most Read