New rules that will allow property owners in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to increase housing flexibility, helping farmers and non-farmers support their families and businesses, is welcome news in the Township of Spallumcheen.
Options for an additional small secondary home have been added to regulations, allowing farmers and ALR landowners to have both a principal residence and a small secondary residence on their property with a streamlined approval process. Only permissions from local government or First Nations government will be required, and there will be no application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
The township has been discussing secondary homes on farms for a number of years.
“At our farming roundtable, our farmers spoke very strongly in support of second residences in the ALR,” said Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser.
“We are very glad that the province has listened and is providing more opportunities for revenue on the farm as well as supporting retiring farmers who may not have had the level of farming activity to remain on the farm without help from young agrarians that are not always necessarily family.”
The additional residence can be used for housing extended family, agritourism accommodation, housing for farm labour or a rental property for supplemental income.
There is no longer a requirement that additional residences must be used by the landowner or immediate family members.
Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu echoed the mayor’s sentiments.
“I come from a farming family, and I understand and respect the value of the hard work farmers do. The Vernon Farmers’ Market is one of my favourite places to go in our community, and without local farmers, we wouldn’t be able to take in everything they have to offer,” Sandhu said.
“We’re expanding options for secondary residences on farmland so that local farmers, workers and their families have more options to ensure we can all enjoy their bounty.”
Examples of flexible housing options permitted under the regulation include, but are not limited to:
• garden suites, guest houses or carriage suites;
• accommodation above an existing building;
• manufactured homes; and
• permitting a principal residence to be constructed in addition to a manufactured home that was formerly a principal residence.
The changes respond to the feedback received in regional engagement sessions and to the ministry’s policy intentions paper, where ALR landowners made it clear they wanted this type of residential flexibility.
The new rules come into effect Dec. 31, 2021.