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.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

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

Most Read