Hundreds of farm properties being used illegally: study

A new report to the City of Abbotsford suggests around 400 properties convene city and provincial land use rules

  • Sep. 25, 2016 1:00 p.m.
A city study found trucks illegally parked on dozens of properties in the Agriculture Land Reserve.

A city study found trucks illegally parked on dozens of properties in the Agriculture Land Reserve.

Hundreds of Abbotsford property owners are breaking rules over how they can use agricultural land, a new report for the city reveals.

Around 400 properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) contravene city and provincial land use rules, according the first report compiled for the city’s AgRefresh review of its farmland policies and bylaws.

Those parcels constitute nearly nine per cent of all ALR properties in Abbotsford, according to the draft background research report, which was presented to council’s agriculture committee earlier this month.

Some had multiple contraventions, with around 500 rule breaches detected.

Of those, the most common were unapproved secondary dwellings, which constituted 42 per cent of the illegal land uses. Agriculture properties are allowed to have multiple homes if they are being used for the homes of a farmer or retired farmer, for immediate family member, or for farm employees, although local governments have the final say in whether the latter reason is justified.

Nearly a quarter of the contraventions saw properties being used to store goods without authorization. Commercial truck parking was taking place on dozens of properties, comprising 14 per cent of the total. And soil deposit and removal was not allowed, but taking place, on around 50 properties.

Elsewhere, the report notes that unauthorized soil deposits are increasing, and that the parking of trucks reduces the viability of farmland on agricultural properties.

A 2014 aerial photo was used to detect unauthorized uses, and the report notes that the assessment only covered a single point in time.

Of the contraventions, more than half – 55 per cent – took place in Abbotsford’s southwest sector, to the south of Highway 1 and west of Highway 11. The rest were spread between the other agricultural areas, with Bradner-Mount Lehman seeing 21 per cent of all illegal activities, Sumas Prairie the location of 15 per cent, and Matsqui Prairie home to nine per cent.

The next step of the AgRefresh process will see more data analysis “to understand the magnitude of potential contraventions.” That will include determining if the rule-breaking is a result of active non-compliance or outdated and/or unclear polices.

The third stage will see the city develop a strategy to address the problems found and conduct day-to-day enforcement of bylaw and agricultural rules.

The report also touches on several problems raised in The News’ ongoing Under Pressure series on challenges to the city’s agricultural land base, with comprises three-quarters of its territory.

The report has made its way to several City of Abbotsford committees. It will be addressed by council in early October, at which time staff will likely be asked to start the second stage of the AgRefresh process, which will focus on more public engagement.

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

A program of the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation enables patients to thank their health-care workers.
Fraser Valley program enables patients to say thanks to their health-care workers

Philip Harris Grateful Patient Program offered through health care foundation

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read