Property owners with land protected under the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in Sicamous want to have the classification removed to allow for non-farm use and further development.
At the Jan. 4 Planning and Development Committee meeting, the ALR growth management boundary line, and how to potentially move or change that boundary, was discussed. Properties that have already been removed from the boundary guideline but haven’t yet been developed on were also mentioned.
The committee said that individual owners used to be able to apply to have their land excluded from the land reserve but now only the municipality the land is in can apply. The municipality has to agree to undertake the land owner’s case and put it forward on the owner’s behalf.
The two properties across Eagle River opposite Silversands RV Resort and Sicamous Sands RV Country Club have both been excluded from the land reserve, but paperwork has not been finalized yet to allow for development. The committee also said it has heard ideas from community members about subdivisions and other non-farm usage for ALR land along the highway, but noted the process to have the municipality apply to the land commission can be long and applications are not always easily approved.
Applicants used to have to prove that whatever development is planned won’t negatively affect farming in the area, but the committee said applications now also have to prove whatever happens will have a positive impact on farming. The land commission makes the final decision but that is the official criteria, committee members said.
The committee discussed contacting the province further about loosening the ALR restrictions in Sicamous, and noted that much of the land in the district is constrained by the transportation ministry, the Agricultural Land Commission (which oversees the ALR) and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The committee is currently waiting for a response to begin that conversation.