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

Sunshine Valley teens burning with promise

Possibly the youngest in B.C., Sunshine Valley trains 15- and 16-year-old firefighters

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Hang gliding video gives stunning view of Harrison and Fraser river confluence

Aerial view shows striking difference between two rivers as they meet

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read