Victoria/Fraser Valley – It appears that the Provincial Liberals are making some changes to the ALC (Agicultural Land Commision) act again, this time regarding the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve). The changes seem to high-light non-agricultural use on ALR land, and related issues that have become a major concern for farmers who want to augment their income just to survive.
That would include farm weddings, special events like corn mazes and pumpkin patches and other summer festivals.
Kenn McLaren, research officer for the BC NDP commented to FVN on what the changes could do to affect farming in BC:
Bill 25 Miscellaneous Statutes (General) Amendment Act, 2016 – Agriculture Sections
In Part 1 of the Miscellaneous Statutes (General) Amendment Act, 2016, the three sections amend the Agricultural Land Commission Act.
· Section 1 amends Section 29 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act to provide that the commission may not exclude land from the ALR without the written consent of the land owner, even if the owner is not farming; this is about tax breaks for land owners.
· Section 2 amends the Agricultural Land Commission Act section 58. By regulation the government will impose limits and conditions for land use including making different regulations for different types of land use, and different regulations on Agricultural values, environmental and heritage values, economic, cultural and social values and different types of land use applications and classes of owners or circumstances. Consistent farming use or protection for farmland within the ALR will not be the result of this section.
· Transition: While both sections depend upon regulations yet to come, these provisions are in force at commencement, date of Royal Assent, likely May 19, 2016, retroactive to January 1, 2016.
The release is here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016JAG0012-000701