Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley. (Photo submitted)

MLA Doug Routley endorses new agricultural land rules to support farming families

NDP MLA Doug Routley says new rules will add flexibility and increased housing options for a small secondary home in the Agricultural Land Reserve. The additional residence can be used for anything from housing extended family to an agritourism accommodation, to housing for farm labour, to a rental property for supplemental income.

“These new changes are positive for farms here in Cowichan and will support food security across B.C.,” added Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “This new flexibility provides more stability for farmers and increased housing options for our entire community.”

The new rules will increase stability of local food systems by increasing economic opportunities for farm owners. These changes will also allow for a streamlined approval process in which applicants only need to apply to a local government or First Nation government, rather than the Agricultural Land Commission.

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.

There is no longer a requirement that additional residences be used by the landowner or immediate family members.

This new residential flexibility is the result of an engagement process that included discussions with farmers and the greater community. The new rules will come into effect December 31, 2021.