Agricultural Land Reserve
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled. According to the Sunshine Coast Agricultural Area Plan Background Report (2012), approximately 3,900 hectares (ha.) of land on the Sunshine Coast is located in the ALR, of which an estimated 60% (2,340 ha.) is currently forested an uninhabitated. An estimated 544 ha. of ALR land on the Sunshine Coast used for rural-residential purposes with no agricultural activity. It is estimated that less than 13% (498 ha.) of ALR lands on the Sunshine Coast are used as farmland.
The map below shows the extent and distribution of ALR lands on the Sunshine Coast:
The ALR takes precedence over, but does not replace other legislation and bylaws that may apply to these lands. Local governments, including the SCRD, and other provincial agencies, are expected to plan in accordance with the provincial policy of preserving agricultural land.
The Agricultural Land Commission Act sets the legislative framework for establishing and administering the agricultural land preservation program. In addition, the ALR Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation designates certain land use activities as “farm uses”, which generally may be regulated but must not be prohibited by a local government bylaw. The Regulation also sets out certain land uses that a local government may regulate and potentially prohibit by bylaw, such as agritourism activities and accommodations, home occupations, kennels and bed & breakfasts.
Agricultural Land Reserve Applications
The SCRD reviews applications to, and referrals from, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) on subdivisions, special or non-farm use, and both inclusions and exclusions of ALR land. The application process includes a fee, referral to a local advisory planning commission and Agricultural Advisory Committee for comments and advice, and may include a public hearing before the Regional Board makes its recommendation to the ALC. Owners of ALR land within the SCRD who are considering making an ALR application are encouraged to contact the Planning & Development Division or ALC before making an application.
Please see the ALC's Application Portal Quick Guide for Applicants.
For more information on starting an ALR application, payment process and fees please see the ALC Application Instructions wepage.
The following chart outlines the general application process: