August 18, 2014 4:32 pm

Time running out to have your say on ALR changes

Global Okanagan

OKANAGAN — Debates over agricultural land have plowed into the spotlight in the past year with contention over regulations and proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The provincial government released a survey earlier this summer for you to weigh in on the proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Commissions Act, adding your input on the following questions:

  1. Should the parameters for allowable on-farm food storage, packing, processing and

retail establishments be revised?


  1. Should distilleries, breweries and meaderies be allowed on ALR land on the same or

similar terms as wineries and cideries?


  1. Should the allowable footprint for consumption areas (eg. winery ‘lounges’ and

potentially distilleries, breweries and meaderies) be increased, and if so what basis?


  1. To what extent should wineries and cideries (and potentially breweries, distilleries

and meaderies) be allowed to sell alcohol that was produced elsewhere in BC, not at

the winery or cidery?


  1. Should anaerobic digesters be permitted in the ALR if the inputs are generated from

farming activities?


  1. Should on-farm cogeneration facilities be permitted on farms where a portion of the

energy created is used on-farm?


  1. Should the parameters be expanded for when non-agriculture related businesses

are allowed to operate on ALR properties in Zone 2?


  1. Should the subdivision of ALR properties in Zone 2 to a minimum parcel size of a

quarter section be allowed without an application to the ALC?


  1. Should the subdivision of ALR parcels in Zone 2 that are of a defined size, and that

are divided by a major highway or waterway, be allowed without an application to the



10.Should greater clarity be provided on what constitutes an agri-tourism activity that is

allowable in the ALR without an application, and if so what parameters should be



11.Should temporary leases of portions of a property in Zone 2 of the ALR be allowed

without an application to the ALC for: (a) intergenerational transfer of an active farm

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or ranch operation; and/ or (b) to encourage the use of otherwise unfarmed land by

existing or new farmers?


One of the biggest points of contention revolves around separating Agricultural Land Reserves into two zones, opening up much of the ALR land in the province for industrial use.

Many have voiced their displeasure of the proposed changes. In April, a group of BC scientists released a statement explaining that much of the wildlife around ALR lands is endangered, and could be threatened by the move. A petitions has been created demanding Christy Clark keep her “hands off BC’s Agricultural Land Commission.” It has more just shy of 9,000 signatures.

The government argues that these changes will make it easier for farmers to lease out their land for non-farm use, which could bring in additional income to keep their farm in production.

The last day to take the survey is this Friday.

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