New ALR legislation targets speculation, leaves farmland for farming

Agriculture minister Lana Popham introduced Bill 52 in legislature, Monday

The provincial government introduced legislation Monday intended to keep a lid on the size of homes built on Agricultural Land Reserve land, as well as to ensure the land is prioritized for farming.

Agriculture minister and Saanich South MLA Lana Popham called the changes a move to protect farmland, securing the supply of locally grown food for future generations.

RELATED: ‘ALR golf courses should return to farming,’ says ex-ALC chair Frank Leonard

“The old government let wealthy speculators drive the price of farmland out of reach for young farmers and allowed some of our most valuable agricultural land to be damaged,” Popham said in a release.

The Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, 2018 (Bill 52) makes three significant changes including; reinstating one zone for all ALR land in B.C., capping the size of homes built on ALR land to less than 5,400 square feet (except in cases where it would support farming) and mandating ALR approval of homes in order to curb non-farm development.

Lastly, the bill plans crack down on the dumping of construction debris and toxic waste through by increasing penalties for those who do so. Such practices have been damaging B.C. farmland and threatening the viability of the ALR.

RELATED: Royal Oak Golf Course will be judged on soil, Popham says

Linda Geggie, executive director of the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable points to the recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found global conditions are rapidly changing.

“This will include changes in energy markets and global food production and distribution that are at best uncertain,” Geggie said in an email. “Protecting valuable farmland and as importantly, the farmers and food producers who are so integral to our resilience in the face of change is vital.”

As imperfect as it is, the ALR is one of the most visionary and important policy tools in British Columbia, she added.

The ALR includes over 4.7 million hectares of B.C. preserved for agricultural use, less than 5 per cent of the province’s total land base.

Currently, 10 per cent of the land in the ALR produces 85 per cent of B.C.’s farm receipts. Three per cent of ALR land in the South Coast region produces 65 per cent of the province’s farm receipts.

“In an era where food security is a growing global issue, our legislative changes intend to protect ALR land for its highest and best use – agricultural production,” Popham said.

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North, welcomed the news that the government was “acting decisively” to stem speculation on farmland.

“The ALR is vital to our local food security and for realizing B.C.’s economic opportunities in the agricultural sector,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula firefighters look to douse hunger with annual food drive

The Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive happens Saturday

VIDEO: ‘Life-saving’ Fix-A-Heart campaign hits $40,000 two weeks in

Canadian Tire on track to surpass 2018 donation of $41,445

Woman injured during West Shore RCMP arrest prompts police watchdog investigation

IIO investigating to determine if police action or inaction linked to woman’s injuries

UPDATED: Saanich structure fire sparked in child daycare

Motorists advised to avoid the area of the highway, Glanford Avenue, Royal Oak Drive and Quadra Street off ramp

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

Home support down, day programs up in annual rating

Most Read