The Agricultural Land Commission is going through its first changes since it inception in 1974. The province is being split into 2 different zones. Zone 1 takes in about 10% of the land mass but a large percentage of the agricultural production and encompass' the lower mainland delta, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. The other 90% is considered zone 2 where the regulations are being somewhat relaxed. The government says this is a modernization of the regulations around the use and preservation of farm land.
" In zone 1, where land is in greater demand and there are development and population pressures, ALC decisions will continue to be made on the original principle of preserving agricultural land. In zone 2, where growing seasons are shorter and there are lower value crops, ALC decisions will now, in addition to the original principle, include additional considerations to provide farmers with more flexibility to support their farming operations" the government said in a satement. The amendments"don't at all change the independent decision making process of the commission. The commission remains an independent body."
It would appear that the changes in zone 2 are a reflection of the reality that farmers need more flexibility for "value added farming activities" in order to remain as farmers. It is my understanding that the flexibilty will depend on the lands capability for agricultural production. With oil and gas exploration at a fever pitch we may see more land being available for oil pumping.
Zone 1 lands are left unchanged and the rules will likely be tightened somewhat although there are sufficient restrictions now in my opinion.