B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham attends annual Beef Day barbecue at the B.C. legislature, May 2019. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. farmland regulations allow return to local decision-making

Property owners still can’t apply to Agricultural Land Commission

B.C. farmers still aren’t “persons” under the NDP government’s overhaul of farmland rules, but centralized decision-making at the Agricultural Land Commission’s Burnaby headquarters is quietly being reversed.

Regulations made public by the agriculture ministry Thursday enforce the law passed last spring that prevents individual property owners from applying directly to the ALC for exclusions, subdivisions or other changes to farmland. They have to convince their local government to apply for changes on their behalf, as the new law defines only local councils, regional districts or first nations as “persons” to the commission.

RELATED: B.C. farmers aren’t ‘persons’ under new land legislation

RELATED: NDP suggests easing secondary home rules for farms

Changes in effect this week include “simplifying the ALC application fee process so Agricultural Land Reserve landowners only pay the local or first nations governments their portions of the application fee, and if these governments later forward the application to the ALC, pay the ALC directly for its portion of the fee,” says a bulletin from the ministry.

Dispensing with a two-zone system that relaxed secondary use rules outside B.C.’s highest productivity zones, the Okanagan, Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island, was a high priority for Agriculture Minister Lana Popham. She also led the reorganization of the commission to get rid of regional panels, arguing it led to exclusions based on local economic pressure.

Regional decision-making is described in a “chair directive” issued Thursday by ALC chair Jennifer Dyson. It names panel members for Interior, Island, Kootenay, North, Okanagan and South Coast regions.

The panels will “subject to other direction, decide inclusion, exclusion, use and subdivision, non-adhering residential use, and soil and fill use applications in each of the six administrative regions,” Dyson’s directive states.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agricultural Land ReserveBC legislature

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

Just Posted

Summerland skeletons carry COVID-19 messages

Heather Pescada’s skeletons, normally displayed at Halloween, are appearing on Facebook and Instagram

First responders continue to rally in support of Kelowna health care workers

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters for the second night in a row

COSAR assists first responders with injured hiker in K.L.O. Creek Park in Kelowna

This is the second incident COSAR has responded to in 24 hours

COSAR rescues two lost hikers from Okanagan Mountain Park

Two male hikers were overdue from a hike they left for on the morning of March 28

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery’s spirits that would have become whisky or gin is now being denatured to make hand sanitizer

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy program to all COVID-19 affected companies: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Most Read