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Agricultural Land Reserve

There have been recent and ongoing changes to the Agricultural Land Commission Act and related Regulations. Land within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is governed both by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and ACRD bylaws and policies.

It is important to familiarize yourself with ALC regulations, policies and bulletins as well as ACRD bylaws and policies before purchasing property within the ALR, purchasing building plans, clearing vegetation (e.g. brush, trees), bringing on fill, removing soil, excavating, or establishing/expanding a use. This includes creating new accesses and driveways. Information on the ALC Act and ALR Regulations can be found here: www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/alc-act-alr-regulation/the-alc-act-and-alr-regulations

First review the following agricultural resources to learn more about the use of ALR land, as well as the ALC, before contacting the Planning and Development Department. The ALC provides a wealth of information, as does AgriService BC, and the Ministry of Agriculture:
What is the Agricultural Land Reserve?

The Provincial government introduced BC's Land Commission Act on April 18, 1973 to preserve agricultural land. The ALC was created to administer the Act and the ALR was established. The ALC is an independent body appointed by the Province. More information about the ALC is available: www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/about-the-alc

The purposes of the ALC as set out in Section 6 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act are:

  • to preserve agricultural land;
  • to encourage farming in collaboration with other communities of interest; and
  • to encourage local governments, First Nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies.
ALR Application Procedures

The following procedure outlines the basic steps of the ALR application process. Each application is unique and has the potential for various requirements to be satisfied prior to completion, and bylaws that may apply to the land.

Most development applications received for properties within the ALR require approval of the ALC prior to Regional District approval. The types of applications that can be made are detailed on the ALC Application Instructions webpage: www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/applications-and-decisions/application-instructions

PROCEDURE:

1. Make an application to the ALC. An Application MUST be submitted electronically to the ALC (www.alc.gov.bc.ca) To do this you must have a BCeID (https://www.bceid.ca)
If the type of ALR application is referred to the local government, payment of the applicable local government fee for the type of application is payable directly to the ACRD.

2. Once the fee has been received and if the type of application is referred to the local government, the proposal will be reviewed by the Planning Department. A planning report is prepared and will include recommendations and requirements to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.

3. A documentation package (including report and application documents) will be submitted to the Agriculture Advisory Committee (AAC) for their review. The AAC meeting is a public meeting of local volunteers who provide their recommendations to the Regional Board and the ALC. It is recommended that the applicant attend this meeting.

4. The documentation package is then forwarded to the Regional Board of Directors' meeting for their consideration. The Board authorizes whether to allow your application to proceed to the ALC or not.

5. If the Board resolves to forward the application to the ALC, the application process continues. A full package of related documents, including your application and all recommendations (as required by the ALC), is sent to the ALC for their decision.

6. The applicant will receive a notice from the ALC advising them that their application has been received. The ALC will then continue with their process and will be in direct contact with the applicant regarding any required meetings and the status of application. Approval or denial will be sent directly to the applicant.

Any information about the ALC application process and requirements can be found on this ALC Applications and Decisions webpage: www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/applications-and-decisions

IMPORTANT!

Please note: If at any stage, the proposal is not supported (ie. By the Planning Department, the AAC, or the Regional Board), the applicant would be notified immediately and given the opportunity to amend the proposal and/or provide justification for the proposal as submitted.