|The Agricultural Land Reserve in Metro Vancouver. Source: BC Government Web Maps|
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was setup in the 1970’s to protect farm-land from loss due to the rapid urbanization of the province. Since the ALR was setup about 10% of its land has been removed in Metro Vancouver. I wrote a report on the ALR a few years ago which contains more information on the ALR in the South of Fraser, but one of the tricky things I noticed was something called “equestrian communities” proposed by some land owners. This type of development keeps land in the ALR while still allowing it to be urbanized. The premise of an “equestrian community” is that a common barn and field is provided for a large number of single-family houses. It is “agricultural” because all the owners of the single-family houses pay into the upkeep of the common barn and fields for horses. Of course the reality is that what is being developed is low-density sprawling luxury estates. The first “equestrian community” that was approved by the Agricultural Land Commission is owned by Wall Financial Corporation near Trinity Western University. You can read more about it on a post I wrote in February of this year and November 2011.
Of course with this precedent, it would only be a matter of time before other’s try to get approval for “equestrian communities”. Well, it turns out that there was another application for an “equestrian community” in south Langley near Campbell Valley Regional Park. The ALC rejected the application, but I’m sure this isn’t the last of this type of application we'll see in the ALR.