ALR-allowed uses of the Garden City Lands

What activities could occur on the Garden City Lands within the ALR? In response to a reader request, this blog post will give a sense of that, though not a complete answer.

Naturally, agriculture is permitted and encouraged in the ALR. The Agricultural Land Commission website describes agriculture and agricultural land, but the assumption seems to be that British Columbians have the common sense to recognize agriculture when they see it. (And they do.)

Beyond that, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) normally keeps to activities designated as farm use or permitted in the ALR Regulation. I’m providing abridged lists that are relevant to the Garden City Lands. They’re brief and readable, not complete or precise.

 Activities designated as farm use

  • Farm retail sales if the sales area is less than 300 square metres and at least half is used for selling farm products produced on the farm
  • Preparation and storage of farm products if at least half the product is produced on the farm
  • Irrigating and construction of reservoirs for farm use
  • Agri-tourism that promotes or markets the farm’s products
  • Agroforestry, including botanical forest products production
  • The construction, maintenance and operation of farm buildings including a greenhouse or an aquaculture facility

Note: Any activity designated as farm use includes the construction, maintenance and operation of a building, structure, driveway, ancillary service or utility necessary for that farm use.

Permitted uses for land in an agricultural land reserve

  • Biodiversity conservation, passive recreation, heritage, wildlife and scenery viewing purposes, as long as the buildings occupy less than 100 square metres
  • Use of an open land park established by the local government for any of those purposes
  • Education and research related to uses under the ALC Act as long as the buildings occupy less than 100 square metres
  • Surface water collection for farm use or domestic use, water well drillings, connection of water lines, access to water well sites and required rights of way or easements
  • Appropriate roads

Some uses permitted under the ALC Act wouldn’t be permitted by the City of Richmond. For example, council wouldn’t be thrilled about “unpaved airstrip or helipad for use of aircraft flying non-scheduled flights.”

The Agricultural Land Commission sometimes permits non-farm uses that are not specified in the regulation, and sports fields are an example. However, suggestions like swimming pools and skating rinks that a couple of councillors brought up at the March 8, 2010, special meeting of Richmond council would not be approved, as Mayor Malcolm Brodie rightly indicated. The Garden City Lands would be an illogical location for them in any case.

Extensive visions for the Garden City Lands have been presented to Richmond Council in the past three years, and almost everything in them is permitted or could be permissible.

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