Recent legislation came into effect Feb. 22 to protect B.C. farmland. (File photo)

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Legislation to further protect fertile, farmable land in B.C. from the effects of large developments and commercial projects is now in force.

Regulations that strengthen B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) came into force under Bill 52 on Feb. 22, 2019, enhancing food security and encouraging farming in the ALR over commercial projects or residential developments.

“I’m very happy to see this law come into full force and effect,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “This new law will encourage farming and better protect farmland by banning mega-mansions, stopping the illegal dumping of waste on farmland and reinstating the one-zone system. It’s a great step in our effort to revitalize the Agricultural Land Reserve so that British Columbians can count on a safe, secure supply of locally grown food on their tables for years to come.”

Read More: Medical cannabis operation in the Shuwap may face regulatory hurdles

The Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, 2018 provides three key changes.

Firstly, it restricts the removal of soil and puts forward increased penalties for the dumping of construction debris and other harmful fill in the ALR. Secondly, the amendment directly addresses mega-mansions and property speculation in the ALR by limiting primary residence size on ALR lands and allowing the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to approve additional residences if they are for farm use. Thirdly, the amendment reunifies the ALR as a single zone, ensuring consistent rules with strong protections for all provincial ALR land.

“At the same time, we’re supporting larger farming families by ensuring that those who need extra living space to support their farming operations have a path forward at the ALC to build a larger home,” said Popham. “Multigenerational farming families are the backbone of agriculture throughout B.C.”

Bill 52 was introduced on Nov. 5, 2018, and received royal assent three weeks later. It required a regulation to bring the law into force. The legislative changes make it clear that British Columbia’s ALR is for farming and ranching, not for building mega-mansions and dumping construction waste.

Read More: Farmland review head named Agricultural Land Commision chair

Established in 1973, the ALR is administered by the ALC, an independent tribunal mandated to preserve agricultural land and encourage farming on agricultural land. The ALR includes over 4.7 million hectares of B.C. that are preserved for agricultural use – less than five per cent of B.C.’s total land base.

Quick Facts:

* Farming families who need the extra space to farm have a path forward at the ALC to build a larger home to support their farming operations.

* To ensure fairness, people who have all their permits and authorizations in place on Feb. 22, 2019, when the regulations became law, will be grandfathered under the old system provided they begin substantial construction by Nov. 5, 2019.

* Under Bill 52, dumping construction waste and other damaging substances on farmland is prohibited, with strong penalties and new tools for enforcement.

* New offences for illegal fill and soil removal have been created under the new act, with maximum penalties of $1 million or six months imprisonment for a first offence.

Read More: Farmland review creates two zones

Read More: B.C. agriculture minister names committee to revitalize ALR

Read More: New ALR regulation targets speculation, leaves farmland for farming


@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

First Terrace Speedway race day of the year

The annual Mother’s Day Season Opening Races brought in crowds

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Northwest Fire Centre open burn ban lifted

Recent rain, cooler temperatures have lowered the region’s fire risk

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read