Fraser Valley/Victoria – While everyone’s attention was on the NEB ruling, the Provincial Budget or the BC Speaker scandal, regulations that strengthen B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) came into force under Bill 52 on Feb. 22. They are to enhance food security and encouraging farming in the ALR.

For the record this isn’t new, rather this was reaffirming that it is now in place.

Bill 52 was introduced on November 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.

The Provincial governments media department didn’t make the announcement until Saturday.

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

  • Restricting the removal of soil and increased penalties for the dumping of construction debris and other harmful fill in the ALR.
  • Directly addressing mega-mansions and speculation in the ALR by limiting primary residence size on ALR lands and empowering the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to approve additional residences if they are for farm use.
  • Reunifying the ALR as a single zone, ensuring consistent rules with strong protections for all provincial ALR land.

“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.”

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 5% of B.C.’s total land base.

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