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

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

Saanich safety upgrades, bike lane extension on Finnerty Road near completion

Raised instersection and sidewalks part of safety improvements near UVic

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read