Agricultural Land Reserve
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial designation in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Agriculture and farming uses are encouraged, and other compatible uses are permitted via regulation. Non-agricultural uses and subdivisions are restricted unless approved by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
The ALR takes precedence over, but does not replace, other legislation and bylaws that may apply. Local and regional governments, as well as other provincial agencies, are expected to plan in accordance with the provincial planning policy of preserving agricultural land. If you are proposing works or an activity/use that is not permitted in the ALR, applicable approvals from the ALC are required prior to the City issuing permits.
Learn more about the ALR and ALC below by clicking on a header to visit that overview page.
- Agricultural Planning: High level overview of permits that you may need to apply for to develop, construct, or place fill or remove soil on your agricultural property.
- Dwellings in Agricultural Areas: Overview of our requirements for constructing a dwelling on properties zoned A1 or A2
- ALC website: Official ALC home page
- ALC Act: Legislative framework for the establishment and administration of the agricultural land preservation program
- ALR Regulations: Identifies the procedures for submitting applications and notices of intent, and specifies land uses permitted in the ALR
- ALC Policies and Bulletins: Further regulation interpretation of activities and uses within the ALR
If your property is wholly or partially within the ALR, those lands are subject to the ALC Act and ALR regulations, and an ALC application may be required if you intend to:
- Include land into the ALR
- Subdivide land (including homesite severances)
- Construct an additional dwelling (including temporary farm worker housing)
- Place fill or remove soil
- Use land for non-farm purposes
- Construct a road, utility or recreational trail
If you intend to place fill or remove soil for a farm use or specified non-farm use as permitted by the ALR Regulations, you may be eligible to file a Notice of Intent directly with the ALC. For more information, please review the ALC's website and contact the ALC's soil department to have your proposal assessed.
As of September 30, 2020, private landowners are no longer able to make an application for exclusion - only the Provincial Government, local or First Nation governments or prescribed public bodies may make such applications.
According to Policy 8.1.3. ALR Exclusions, ALR exclusion applications to the ALC will not be considered except where such exclusions are consistent with the generalized Future Land Use Map 3.1. and ALC guidance and conditions. ALR exclusion applications may be considered as part of a scheduled, comprehensive OCP Bylaw Review or Agriculture Plan Update based on the following factors:
- Consistency with the goals, objectives, and other policies in the 2040 OCP;
- Does not require the extension of municipal services; and/or
- Demonstrates a civic need that cannot be provided elsewhere.
Other considerations include the size of the parcel, the percentage of the parcel within the ALR and agricultural capability. Soil capability alone should not be used as justification for exclusion.
Local governments are a critical part of the ALC application process. The majority of ALC applications are first processed and reviewed by the City prior to being submitted to the ALC. If your proposal is not consistent with City policies or bylaws, Council can resolve not to forward your application to the ALC for consideration. Learn more about making an ALC application and the process for each type of visiting the ALC's website.
To make an ALC application, submit an online application and all required documents through the ALC Application Portal. Staff require a completed application that contains all required documentation to begin processing your application. Once your complete application is submitted, you will be assigned a File Manager who will work with you to process your application and will complete a portion or all of the following:
- Refer the application to all relevant internal departments or external governments and agencies.
- Evaluate the proposal for compliance with relevant City bylaws and policies and relevant provincial regulations.
- Prepare a staff report with a recommendation of either support or non-support for your application.
- Refer the application to any relevant Council Committee(s).
- Review the application material, Council committee recommendations and staff report with Council.
- If authorized, forward the complete application to the ALC with staff report and Council resolution.
All ALC applications go through a comprehensive review process by relevant internal City departments, and external agencies such as Interior Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Regional District of Central Okanagan, and water providers. Once all review comments have been provided, your File Manager will review the feedback with you and inform you of City Staff's position on the application.
All ALC applications are reviewed by Council. Applicants are encouraged to attend the Council meeting at which the application will be considered and may be asked to speak to the proposal by Council. If applicable, Council will provide a recommendation on the application and will authorize the application to be forwarded to the ALC or not. If your proposal is contrary to the City's policies and bylaws, Council has the authority to stop the application from proceeding to the ALC for final determination. The Office of the City Clerk will notify you in writing of the decision of Council.
Refer to the ALC website to confirm fees. Other costs may include:
- Professional reports fees
- Legal and survey fees
- Consultant fees
- Bonding requirements for landscaping and servicing agreements