B.C. Liberal agriculture critic Ian Paton addresses farmers’ rally outside the B.C. legislature over housing restrictions, Oct. 28, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. Liberal agriculture critic Ian Paton addresses farmers’ rally outside the B.C. legislature over housing restrictions, Oct. 28, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Farmers call on B.C. NDP to allow more housing, business

Secondary homes, restaurants, rentals can keep farms viable

The B.C. NDP government’s crackdown on additional housing and business uses in the Agricultural Land Reserve has brought further calls from farmers that what they need is flexibility in keeping farms in business.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham got an earful of feedback on agricultural housing restrictions this spring, in a consultation that followed farmer protests last fall. Popham’s focus has been getting non-farm business and residential use off farmland, after she eliminated the B.C. Liberal government’s two-zone land reserve that allowed more business use.

The ministry’s efforts to crack down on construction waste and “mega-mansions” resulted in regulatory retreats after going too far, such as requiring costly permits for gravelling roads to keep them passable. And the housing crackdown has produced another do-over.

The ministry’s first response to a summary “what we heard” report released Sept. 4 is an extension of the “grandfathering period” of manufactured homes on farmland. It now extends until July 31, 2021, to allow time to develop new regulations.

“Landowners in the ALR will have until then to obtain the required permits and authorizations to place a manufactured residence for immediate family on their property, without having to apply to the Agricultural Land Commission,” the ministry said in a statement.

Currently only mobile or modular housing is allowed for immediate family members, but farmers are saying they need more options. The ministry consulted local governments and “people who identify as farmers,” as the report describes them.

“Many suggest that the tough realities of farming make other income streams necessary to support farm production and make a farm more resilient to tough economic conditions,” the ministry summary says. “The ability to have rental properties is seen as a way to assist in this.”

RELATED: B.C. farmers aren’t ‘persons’ in new farmland law

RELATED: It’s still OK to gravel your driveway, farmers told

The ministry asked local governments about applications for “garden suite, guest house or carriage suite,” as well as “permitting a new permanent residence to be built in addition to the manufactured home that is the principal residence.” Some communities support all four and others would allow none.

The potential of “tiny homes” and “yurts” for farm worker housing was also discussed, with local governments suggesting any structures should comply with B.C.’s building code.

Most responding local governments said they would not prohibit additional homes on farmland. Asked which type of additional small residences, suggestions included allowing only single-family homes and making sure secondary residences aren’t used as short-term rentals. That could be done by requiring that secondary homes are close to the primary residence.

The ministry received 257 responses to its “policy intentions paper” from individual farmers and associations, some calling for flexible housing options for farms. Suggestions included regulations that allow two dwellings without an application to the Agricultural Land Commission, and “stick build” options rather than the current rule that only manufactured homes can be used as second residences.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureFarming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer near Argenta in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

Gerald Cordeiro of Kalesnikoff Lumber Ltd. says the company is looking for a non-profit organization to take over and run its proposed agroforestry project. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Logging company proposes agroforestry project for Nelson area

Kalesnikoff Lumber is floating the idea of growing trees in conjunction with food crops

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Most Read