Homes allowed on ALR

There has been some concerns over changes made to the Agricultural Land Reserve regarding housing on farm land, but the province wants to set the record straight.

Okanagan-Monashee MLA Eric Foster expressed some concerns over limiting the number and size of homes on farmland, but Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, said those concerns are unfounded.

Foster said he is concerned changes to Agricultural Land Commission rules will negatively impact farm families.

During a presentation to the Regional District of North Okanagan recently, Foster touched on new rules regarding residences within the ALR.

"This is hurting family farms. It makes it difficult for families to stay together," said Foster, noting additional residences will not be allowed, and neither will detached suites and manufactured homes for family members.

And for principal residences, the total floor area must not exceed 500 square metres.

Foster says he supports some regulations regarding the location and size of residences on agricultural land, but the new policies are out of step with farm activities in the North Okanagan.

“I would like to provide your readers with a more accurate understanding of the changes our government is making to help farmers farm in British Columbia,” said Popham.

“Despite the reported claims by the MLA from Vernon-Monashee, people will, in fact, still be able to have secondary homes, detached suites and mobile homes on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. The only change is that they will now require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission, instead of their local government.”

Popham said homes larger than 500 square metres will be allowed, “provided they receive support from their local government.”

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