GOOD NEWS FOR FARMERS AND ISLANDERS!
Recently adopted Agricultural bylaw and official community plan amendments have a positive impact on the way both farmers and islanders live, work and eat!
Bylaw 274 (Agriculture - OCP Amendment)
Bylaw 275 (Agriculture - LUB Amendment)
Details of these changes can be found in the amended land use bylaw and official community plan linked above.
The three main positive outcomes from these changes:
1.) Removing barriers to farming
2.) Improving farmland protection
3.) Increasing local food security
These amendments present benefits beyond farming and food security. The benefits include an increase in available affordable housing options, which serves to increase the quality of life and well-being for Gabriola Island residents.
The highlights of changes to the land use bylaw and official community plan are summarized below:
Official Community Plan changes (four new policies, eight new advocacy policies)
- Support for local Farmers Markets for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the community at large
- Restriction of land, buildings and structures used for manufacturing or research of GMO seeds/crops.
- Support for Agri-tourism
- Support for partnerships between the farming community, various levels of government (e.g. provincial, federal, Islands Trust, the Agricultural Land Commission, etc.) and private enterprise
Land Use Bylaw changes
- Allowance of secondary suites and cottages on land parcels of a certain size located in Agriculture (AG) zoned lands (or manufactured homes on Agricultural Land Reserve)
- Allowance of medical marihuana production on certain lots in the AG zones
- Allowance of Agri-tourism as a permitted use in several land use zones on Gabriola Island (e.g. Agriculture (AG), Gabriola Commons (GC), Rural Residential (RR), etc.)
** It is important to note that the provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) governs areas that are deemed to protect agricultural land in British Columbia. These areas are labelled the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The ALC has its own sets of guidelines governing this designated land which have to be considered in conjunction with local land use bylaws created by the Islands Trust.
Link to ALC Policies
When there are several bylaws, policies and rules set out by various levels of government pertaining to an area on Gabriola Island, the more restrictive bylaw or policy must be taken as a priority. **
Background Information and Resources
Agricultural Advisory Commission