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Agricultural land commission hiring new officers to speed up applications

After last fall's farm wedding flap, the ALC says new compliance officers will help farmers by speeding up applications for non-farm uses — but admits rules around weddings are still vague.

ALC Chair Frank Leonard says officers not part of a crackdown on farm weddings

The Agricultural Land Commission says it's hiring extra officers but not to crack down on farm weddings. It says existing wedding bookings will be honoured on ALR land assuming the farms have an application pending with the ALC. (bo.ttega.com)

After last fall's flap over non-farm use of Agricultural Land Reserve land that saw several farms barred from conducting weddings on-site, the ALC has hired more compliance officers — and may hire even more.

ALC Chair Frank Leonard visited Kelowna and Lake Country councils on Monday to talk about the plans and said it's not about cracking down on farmers who do non-farm activities on their land, but about expediting applications for non-farm uses.

"History has shown that people who make applications have waited months and in some cases a couple of years for a decision," he told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

"We're reorganizing our operation and going to a best practice of giving people an answer of three to four months even with our existing budget."

However, Leonard says the additional officers will move "people who are doing something in the ALR they shouldn't be … into a compliance situation."

Leonard says the regulations around weddings in particular are vague and hinted that new legislation may come from the Ministry of Agriculture in the future.

In the meantime, he says existing wedding bookings will be honoured on ALR land assuming the farms have an application pending with the ALC.


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: ALC says new compliance officers will speed up applications

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