Consultation sheds light on farmland changes

Relaxed farm leasing rules in rural zones, allowing breweries and distilleries are being considered in new regulations

The B.C. government allows wine and cider making on farmland

VICTORIA – Since commercial production of wine or cider is allowed on farmland, why not a brewery, distillery or meadery?

Should energy co-generation be allowed on farms, using manure or other biodegradable waste to produce methane gas and carbon dioxide?

These are some of the questions included in the B.C. government’s consultation on changes to Agricultural Land Reserve regulations, released this week. Others deal with controversial proposals to allow specified non-farm uses, secondary residences and subdivisions without permission from the Agricultural Land Commission.

Developed after consultation with the B.C. Agriculture Council, local governments and the commission, the 11 questions offer more detail on changes the government is considering under legislation passed despite protests this spring.

The legislation divided the ALR into two zones, to permit more flexibility in the Interior, Kootenay and North regions (Zone 2) where both agriculture revenue and development pressure are lower.

One question asks whether farmland in all of Zone 2 should be able to be subdivided down to a minimum of a quarter section (65 hectares) without application to the ALC, as is now allowed in the Peace River and Northern Rockies Regional Districts in northeast B.C.

Another proposal is to allow subdivision without ALC approval where farmland is divided by a major waterway or highway, subject to a minimum size.

The province is also considering relaxing lease rules, which currently permit leasing of an entire farm property without ALC approval. The consultation asks if a portion of property should be allowed for lease to permit “intergenerational transfer,” where farmers retire on a portion of their land so their children can continue to farm the rest.

Another proposal for partial lease without ALC approval would allow unfarmed land to be brought into production. The partial leases would not require a formal subdivision.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has emphasized that changes to the ALR are designed to support farming, not erode the protected agricultural land base.

Public input is being accepted until Aug. 22. The questions and a background paper are available here, where submissions can be made.

Comments can also be made by email to ALCA_feedback@gov.bc.ca or by Canada Post to ALR Regulation Consultation, P.O. Box 9120, Stn. Provincial Government, Victoria B.C. V8W 9B4.

 

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

Just Posted

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

Victoria fills more than 100 motel rooms with homeless population

Mayor says staffing is the biggest issue impacting opening of Royal Athletic Park

Esquimalt’s Buccaneer Days cancelled due to COVID-19

The pirate-themed fair will take place in 2021

‘Small python’ found in vacant Cook Street apartment

Snake taken to CRD Animal Shelter to be claimed

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read