Whistler Blog

BC Government Makes it Clear ‘Farmland is for Farming’

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Pemberton Farm

Pemberton has a rich agricultural history and farming has become a foundation of the Pemberton community. New legislation will ensure that Pemberton’s arable soils will be protected and preserved for future generations.

Each year a special type of tourist flocks to Pemberton Valley- the agritourist. The valley offers an exciting array of agri-tourism experiences from organic potato vodka distillery tours to u-pick farms.

The legislation first introduced in November of 2018 is now in full effect across British Columbia. Bill 52, the agricultural land commission amendment act, 2018, serves to strengthen protections for B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve.

With this new legislation the government makes it evident that Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is for farming and ranching in British Columbia, not for building mega-mansions or dumping harmful waste.

This legislation makes three key changes:

  • Restores the integrity of the ALR by reinstating one zone for all ALR land in B.C., making it clear that all land in the ALR benefits from the same amount of protection.
  • New house sizes will be limited to less than 500 square metres [about 5,400 square feet], except through application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) in cases where it would support farming.
  • Applies increased fines and penalties to crack down on the dumping of construction debris, toxic waste and other waste that causes irreparable damage to valuable farmland.

Making Farmland More Affordable

These new rules will hope to revitalize the agricultural industry in BC by making farmland more affordable. The government hopes to crackdown on the building of mega-mansions, which has steadily increased over the past few years.

“We are protecting farmland in B.C. to ensure land is available now and for future generations of farmers, so people in British Columbia have a safe, secure supply of locally grown food on their tables for years to come.” Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham said in a release.

This new legislation endeavors to promote more local and sustainable small-scale farming in British Columbia. BC’s Food Self-Reliance Report, carried out in 2007, concluded that local farmers produce close to 50% of the food the British Columbians produce.