Thursday, February 15, 2018

Development proposal to add more land into the Agricultural Land Reserve

When Agricultural Land Reserve and development application are used in the same paragraph, the word exclusion is almost always present. Over the years that I’ve been following the state of the ALR in the South of Fraser, land has been either taken out of the land reserve for urban development, or been used in such a way as to remove the potential for farming. An example of this would be the South Fraser Perimeter Road.

Development proposal located near 0 Avenue and 184th Street. Select image to enlarge.

A proposal by Hazelmere Golf & Tennis Club recently came before the Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee. The proposed plan would see the following:

  • 41.9 acres of existing ALR land brought into agricultural production
  • 3.9 acres of land under BC Hydro Right of Way be included into the ALR
  • 20 acres of preserved and enhanced natural habitat and open space
  • 3 acres of new parks
  • 19.5 acres of existing golf course
  • 39.2 acre, 145-lot suburban single-family houses

The single-family housing area would be outside of the ALR, but would still require Surrey to rezone that area from “Agricultural” to “Suburban”. It would also require Metro Vancouver to change the regional zoning from “Rural” to “General Urban” in that area.

An argument could be make that this is essentially sprawl. What really set this proposal apart from other similar proposals —which have been approved in this part of our region in the past— is that ALR land will be expanded, enhanced, and brought into production.

The 41.9 acres of farmland, which is a significant parcel, is proposed to be transformed into a farming co-operative. The proponent is proposing to work with the Young Agrarians and their Land Matching Program to find suitable farmers. For the land that is outside of the ALR, about 30% will be preserved from development.

As development projects occurs at the edge of the ALR in our region, these projects should be required to contribute to making adjacent farmlands viable and productive. This proposed plan may be a good example of how these types of developments should occur.

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