New agricultural land rules will support farming families in the Chilliwack area

Released: July 12, 2021

New Democrat MLAs Kelli Paddon and Dan Coulter 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.

“Folks here in the Fraser Valley have been advocating for more flexibility and the government is listening,” said Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack. “Being able to put a small, secondary structure on your property will increase economic opportunities in the area while still protecting precious farmland that contributes to our amazing local food scene here in British Columbia.”

“Farmers are the backbone of our community,” said Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent. “Whether it’s by moving family onto your property, attracting agritourism to create revenue, or making accommodation for staff, these new changes to ALR will make a big difference in people’s lives in the area.”

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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