Interim Report on ALR and ALC

Earlier this month, the Minister’s Advisory Committee for Revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) released its interim report, including recommendations for legislative changes and other actions.

A number of the committee’s requested changes reflect recommendations that UBCM made in our submission to the committee in March 2018.  For example:

UBCM Recommendations Advisory Committee Recommendations
Support the principles of consistency, fairness and transparency in the governance of agriculture lands, and endorse the critical importance of local decision-making in agricultural land use planning. Ensure province-wide decision making that is consistent and fair with an ALC governance structure that is flexible, locally-informed, regionally-represented, and puts ‘agriculture-first’
Consider the issue of farmland speculation. Address speculation through better land use planning by only considering exclusion of ALR land through a joint local government-ALC land use planning process
Consider concerns regarding residential uses in the ALR. Protect the ALR from residential speculation by establishing a maximum total floor area for all primary residences and providing local government flexibility to zone below the maximum; enable new regulations for residential siting, secondary dwellings and home plate size

In terms of cannabis production, UBCM had asked that the committee carefully examine the means of production of recreational cannabis and, at its May 2018 meeting, the UBCM Executive agreed to support a moratorium on the production of non-medical cannabis on ALR land until the provincial government undertook a review and consultation process.

The Advisory Committee’s report also recommended an immediate moratorium (on all non soil-bound cannabis production in the ALR) pending an analysis of impacts, and that the ALC establish criteria for cannabis production, including the requirement for applications to the ALC for production.

However, in advance of the release of the interim report, the provincial government amended the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation in order to designate the specific means of lawful cannabis production that are considered farm use in the ALR.  This amendment does not advance a moratorium on cannabis production in the ALR, but it does identify some forms of cannabis production as non-farm use - which allows local governments to prohibit or regulate this use and requires ALR landowners to make applications to the ALC for non-farm use.

The full Interim Committee Report, as well as a summary of the public engagement process, are available on the Ministry of Agriculture website.  The final report is expected this fall.

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