The province is asking for feedback on a proposal that would see landowners within the ALR given the right to have a second home if their local government approves.
The idea, first announced by BC agriculture minister Lana Popham at the end of November, is fleshed out in an intentions paper released January 27.
“Under the proposal, a small secondary residence would be available for farm-workers, family members or anyone else, provided there is local government approval,” says Popham.
An intentions paper released as part of the consultation indicates that those small residences won’t be limited to manufactured homes, as under the previous iteration of the regulations. Instead, they could include garden suites, guest houses, carriage suites or units above an existing building.
The new options won’t affect the maximum size of the principal residence, limiting the total residential floorspace to 5,382 square feet (500 square metres).
In addition, the ALC will remain the decision maker for additional residences for farm use in the ALR. “Any new permitted secondary residences should be registered with the ALC for long-term land-use planning purposes,” the province states.
Unlike last fall’s consultation, and the work of the nine-member advisory committee Popham appointed in 2018 to suggest ways to revitalize the ALR, the current engagement process will take place solely via e-mail. People are asked to provide feedback to [ALR_ALCrevitalization@gov.bc.ca].
Pending the outcome of the consultation, the province has extended the grandfathering period for second homes for family in the ALR. Originally set to expire February 22, 2020, landowners now have until the end of the year “to obtain all the required permits and authorizations to place a manufactured home for immediate family on their property.”
The changes have won cautious approval from critics of changes the province has made to regulations governing the ALR.
Raquel Kolof, president of the Sunshine Coast Farmers Institute, has been one of the more vocal critics of the changes. She applauded the provision allowing accommodation above existing buildings, as well as the potential for second dwellings in the ALR to be used by anyone.
“We are particularly hopeful that the minister will follow through with allowing a small second residence be utilized by anyone, not just family,” says Kolof. “Given the rising cost of feed and hay, farmers need residential and rental options to be able to produce food in an economically viable manner, thereby allowing farmers to remain on their land.”