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

Jaffray, Tobacco Plains, others to receive high-speed internet upgrade

The government today announced an initiative to connect rural British Columbia

Jaffray local Katie Anderson wins Boarderstyle event

A Jaffray woman dominated the slopes Saturday to claim first place in… Continue reading

Education key to coexistence: CanWel

CanWel executives say education is key to the Fernie community and forestry… Continue reading

RCMP investigating break-and-enter attempts in Fernie

Police are investigating four reports of attempted break-and-enters at the condos and… Continue reading

Fernie food share program thrives under new partnership

Four times the amount of food is being saved from landfill under… Continue reading

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

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

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

Cheetahs will not prosper in Creston: Permit rejected for two big cats

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

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Most Read