Local MLA praised the changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) on July 12, which will allow more flexibility to secondary buildings.
MLAs Pam Alexis for Abbotsford-Mission, Bob D’Eith for Mission-Maple Ridge, and Lisa Beare for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows said additional residences can now be used for extended family, agricultural tourism, housing for farm labour, or as rental properties.
“We have been hearing from farmers and folks in the area that they wanted more flexibility with their land and housing options,” said Alexis. “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.”
The changes will increase stability of local food systems by giving farmers more economic opportunities, and will quicken the approval process as applications will only need to apply to local municipalities or First Nation governments instead of the Agricultural Land Commission, according to the MLAs.
The new changes will allow for garden suites, guest houses, carriage suites, accommodations above an existing building, manufactured homes, and a principal residence to be constructed in addition to a manufactured home that was formerly a main residence.
Regulations that required additional buildings to be used by the landowners or immediate family members have been cut.
The new rules, which come into effect on the last day of 2021, are the results of an engagement process with farmers and communities, according to the press release.
“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,” D’Eith said. “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 province extended its deadline for removing secondary homes for the ALR in April, 2021, after an outcry over regulatory crackdowns on property owners.