Opposition strong to expanded farmland uses

The popular ideas for Agricultural Land Reserve changes were to allow breweries and distilleries, as well as leasing farms

Allowing breweries and distilleries on farmland

The B.C. government’s proposals to expand food processing, retail and alcohol sales on farmland got a rough ride during a summer consultation tour with farmers, local governments and individuals invited to comment.

The agriculture ministry released a summary of submissions this week, after closed-door meetings in August with community, farming, ranching and agricultural industry representatives. The meetings were set up to develop regulations after the province passed legislation this spring, dividing the Agricultural Land Reserve into two zones with the intent of easing restrictions on farm-related and non-farm revenue activities.

A proposal to revise regulations restricting food storage, processing and retail sales, requiring half of products to be produced on the farm, was rejected by “a considerable majority of stakeholders from all regions,” the summary states.

With wineries and cideries already allowed on farmland, a proposal to extend the regulation to include breweries, distilleries and meaderies was supported by a majority in all regions, particularly from local governments in Zone 1, the Lower Mainland, Okanagan and Vancouver Island.

Wineries and cideries are allowed without approval from the Agricultural Land Commission, as long as half of the materials are produced on the farm. Some questioned whether that rule would work for breweries and distilleries, with hops, malting barley and distilling grain not produced in large quantities in B.C.

The government’s suggestion to allow larger tasting areas for wine, cider and potentially beer and distilled liquor was also rejected by “a considerable majority” of respondents. Selling alcoholic products not produced on the host farm was also opposed by a large majority, with opposition strongest in the North and Vancouver Island regions.

The loudest opposition came in response to the suggestion to allow a wider range of non-farm activities without approval of the ALC. The strongest supporters were landowners in Zone 2 (Interior, Kootenay and North regions). Oil and gas services on farmland are already allowed in northeastern B.C. under supervision of the Oil and Gas Commission.

The proposal to waive ALC approval for farmland subdivisions larger than a quarter section (64 hectares) was also opposed by a large majority, but the suggestion of leasing farmland to put it into production was widely supported.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick is preparing regulation changes for the cabinet approval, and hopes to have new regulations in place by the end of the year.

The consultation received more than 1,500 submissions by mail, email and through its website, and held meetings in Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, Fort St. John, Cranbrook, Nanaimo and Abbotsford.

 

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Most Read