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

Protective human chain to form around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders invited to stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

UVic hosts forum on state of democracy with scholars from around the globe

Forum takes place Friday in Ceremonial Hall in First Peoples House at the University of Victoria

Appeal by Victoria to province for regional police puts pressure on Saanich

Mayor Fred Haynes opposes push for regional policing

City of Victoria announces two more affordable housing projects

The city commits nearly $2M to projects in James Bay and Hillside-Quadra neighbourhoods

VicPD officer saves man overdosing on opioids

The man was found lying on the sidewalk early Thursday morning

Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash sentenced to eight years

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash on Vancouver Island

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup Friday in Ladysmith

Kater to launch ridesharing service in Vancouver by end of month

The Surrey-based company got its permits from the Vancouver Taxi Association

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Most Read