British Columbia

Province moves to limit size of houses on ALR land

The provincial government has introduced legislation to place new rules on controversial mega-mansions on Agriculture Land Reserve farmland.

If legislation passes, size of houses on ALR land will be capped at 5,400 sq. ft.

If the legislation passes, houses on ALR land will be limited to 5,400 square feet. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The provincial government has introduced legislation to place new rules on controversial mega-mansions on Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR) farmland.

If passed, houses on ALR land will be limited to 5,400 square feet.

Last spring, the City of Richmond reduced the maximum size of a house on ALR land to 10,700 square feet.

"The old government let wealthy speculators drive the price of farmland out of reach for young farmers and allowed some of our most valuable agricultural land to be damaged," said Agriculture Minister Lana Popham in a statement.

Under the current legislation passed by the former government, there are two zones of agricultural land with one land zone open for some non-agricultural development.

Popham says the amendments in a bill tabled Monday will eliminate the arbitrary two-zone division.

The amendments also include increased penalties for dumping construction debris and other waste or fill materials on agricultural land that can damage soil and valuable farmland.

The ALR was established in 1973 to protect land with prime agricultural conditions for farming and ranching. It currently protects approximately 4.6 million hectares of arable land in B.C.

With files from the Canadian Press

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