Farmland in B.C.’s Lower Mainland is under development pressure. (Black Press files)

B.C. tightening rules for farmland reserve exclusion applications

Land commission gets new powers to order landowner records

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham has unveiled the second stage of her reorganization of the Agricultural Land Reserve, giving new powers to the appointed commission to enforce farmland use regulations.

The changes introduced reorganize the commission, “adding more compliance and enforcement capacity and tools, including a new offence for landowners who do not produce records when the Agricultural Land Commission orders,” Popham told the legislature Thursday.

Amendments also restrict applications to exclude farmland from the reserve to those submitted by local governments, Indigenous governments or the province, which retains the right to override land reserve rules for uses the B.C. government decides are in the provincial interest.

The first round of changes was passed last fall, dumping the “zone two” for rural farmland that permitted more secondary uses on farmland outside the prime farming areas of the Lower Mainland, southern Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.

READ MORE: B.C. farmland changes target ‘mansions,’ dumping

READ MORE: Nickelback frontman’s former home worth millions

New regulations to stop the dumping of construction waste on farmland and putting a 500-square-metre limit on new houses built on ALR land were also passed last fall. Popham said those rules were to stop wealthy buyers from purchasing farms and building “mega-mansions” on them, a problem identified in Richmond and in the Fraser Valley.

The latest legislation drew a quick response from Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier, who has argued that secondary uses keep farm operations viable in winter in his region.

“Another attack on rural B.C. and landowners,” Bernier said on Twitter as Bill 15 was introduced in the legislature. “Why do the B.C. NDP always think big brother knows better than the people who actually own and work the land?”

The changes also eliminate the six regional panels and executive committee, creating a single commission with regional representation required. Popham said that change will “strengthen the independence of the commission.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Peewee Okanagan Championship held in Clearwater

Last hockey weekend of the season an eventful one

It’s fast, it’s exciting, and the action never stops!

Team Cattle Penning March 23-24 at the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere

Ground breaks on new hotel project

The Best Western will add 72 new rooms for visitors

What’s a voter to do?

Editor, The Times:

Coolness under pressure

Wells Gray Search and Rescue practise safety skills

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read