New agricultural land rules will support farming families from Pitt Meadows to Abbotsford

MISSION– New Democrat MLAs Lisa Beare, Pam Alexis and Bob D’Eith say new rules will add flexibility and increased housing options for a small secondary home in the Agricultural Land Reserve. The additional residence can be used for anything from housing extended family to an agritourism accommodation, to housing for farm labour, to a rental property for supplemental income.

“Protecting farmland and our local food producers is so important,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. “This change will mean that it will be easier for farmers to keep their extended family on their properties or have space for employees to live.”

“We have been hearing from farmers and folks in the area that they wanted more flexibility with their land and housing options,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “This announcement will mean more housing security in areas with high farm activity while still ensuring that our local food producers can continue to thrive.”

“I’m so grateful and proud of all the effort and care that farmers put into their work in Maple Ridge, Mission and across the province,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “This announcement will help bring more economic activity to the area while giving these farmers a boost so that they continue all the great work they do.”

The new rules will increase stability of local food systems by increasing economic opportunities for farm owners. These changes will also allow for a streamlined approval process in which applicants only need to apply to a local government or First Nation government, rather than the Agricultural Land Commission.

Flexible housing options permitted under the regulation include, but are not limited to:

  • garden suites, guest houses or carriage suites
  • accommodation above an existing building
  • manufactured homes
  • permitting a principal residence to be constructed in addition to a manufactured home that was formerly a principal residence

There is no longer a requirement that additional residences must be used by the landowner or immediate family members.

This new residential flexibility is the result of an engagement process that included discussions with farmers and the greater community. The new rules will come into effect December 31, 2021.

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