The Agricultural Land Commission will require all applications for exclusions from the ALC to come directly from the Cariboo Regional District. (David Fait photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Regional District now responsible for all ALR land exclusions

Agricultural Land Commissions says landowners can not make applications for exclusion after Sept. 30

The crackdown on mega-mansions on farmland in the Lower Mainland is spilling over to the Cariboo.

As of Sept. 30, the Agricultural Land Commission will require all applications for exclusions from the ALC to come directly from the Cariboo Regional District as the “sole agent,” and not the land-owner as was done previously. Any homes on farmland will also be restricted to 500 sq. m. (5,382 sq. ft.) in size in an effort to protect the province’s Agricultural Land Reserve for agricultural uses.

The move, aimed at curtailing the rampant development of farmland in Metro Vancouver, means the CRD will not only have to make decisions on which projects to put forward but to bear the time and cost of doing it. The situation has confounded CRD directors, who say agricultural land up here isn’t as fertile as that lost at the Coast, while mega-mansions are few and far between.

“It’s tough when you only have one governing body,” said CRD Chair Margo Wagner. “Twenty acres in the Cariboo doesn’t compare to 20 acres in Delta. It’s all geared to the Lower Mainland, but unfortunately, we don’t all fit into the same mould up here.”

Over the past 10 years, the CRD has received 13 ALR-exclusion applications. Of those, 11 were endorsed by the CRD Board, and eight were approved by the ALC.

Al Richmond, director for Lac La Hache-108 Mile, said the move will make it even harder for young farmers to continue working the land. The Cariboo Regional District had lobbied hard for two agricultural zones, which would allow farmers to work the land as well as use it for other agricultural uses but that’s now gone.

“Generally, what you find in the Cariboo is our land is marginal at best,” he said. “We find it strange that you can take out all orchards in the Okanagan and all farms in the Fraser Valley but we have to toe the line here in the Cariboo.”

Nigel Whitehead, CRD manager of planning services, told directors at a committee of the whole meeting Thursday that the ALC was trying to prevent “donut-holes” within the ALR. Along with their legislated considerations, he said, the ALC said it will lean heavily on considering long-range planning policy, such as OCPs, when looking at local government exclusion applications.

READ MORE: CRD directors deny mainland parking for Lac La Hache island lot-owners in close vote

Whitehead said the CRD can choose to make exclusion decisions on an ad hoc basis, refuse them altogether or consider them through future Official Community Plan updates in the area. The latter would be the most equitable for communities, Whitehead said, as requests could be assessed at a high level by staff across a given OCP area, rather than only putting in staff time to consider properties where landowners have made an effort to reach out and make a request.

Jim Glassford, Director for West Fraser – Nazko, said he didn’t support one-off requests. “Unless it was poor quality, I wouldn’t be interested in taking it out,” he said. “As we’ve seen in the Lower Mainland it kept creeping onto the farmland and that was as good as you could get down there.”

But Wagner cautioned that directors shouldn’t be too quick to deny a request.

“We need to not restrict the ALC anymore than they are restricting themselves,” she said. “(The ALC) seem very reluctant to do anything even if it’s a rock farm and we can’t grow anything.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AgricultureCariboo Regional District

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

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

FOREST INK: Old growth forests under new management

On April 30, 2020, they submitted 14 recommendations to the Province in their report

No reported COVID-19 transmission in B.C.’s tree planting spring/summer effort

With the fall season winding up mid-October, it is hoped that trend will continue

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

World-class carver prefers the simple life

His work can be found in galleries around the world, but Kevin Peters prefers the quiet life.

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read