Thursday, March 29, 2012

Readers write -- Agricultural Bylaw debate!.

The following messages were submitted by readers in reverse chronological order. Comments are welcome,
Thanks Maria,

Recently CKNW radio had a discussion re the issue of "Country Estates", I couldn't find the story on their website, however, the following article provides an excellent overview re both the issues, and proposed solutions to this troubling trend:

P.S. feel free to pass this info on to the others you have c.c'd
Further information from Councillor Besso. 
-------Original Message-------
Date: 3/29/2012 12:36:21 AM
Perhaps it would be useful to inform the readers that the ALR land in Coldstream is already very heavily parcelized.

57 % of Coldstream's land base is within the ALR. The total land base in Coldstream is 6,429 ha.
According to Map 2.1 of the July 2009 Coldstream Agricultural Plan, there are 824 parcels in Coldstream that are all or partially in the ALR, of those 824 parcels, 640 of them are already less than 4 hectares ( ie 77.6 % of the parcels are NOT sub dividable because they are already under 4ha.)

* note that under the present RU-2, it would imply that the minimum parcel size you could subdivide to would be 2 hectares, since you could not subdivide anything smaller than 4 hectares to arrive at parcels 2 ha or bigger, then all the parcels that are already less than 4 ha are non-subdividable (unless they are excluded from the ALR, or qualify for a homesite severance.)

The reality of owning property in the ALR ( regardless of the implied zoning under the Official Community Plan OCP) is that all subdivision must be approved by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) . In the last 10 years in Coldstream there have been 17 applications for subdivision in the ALR ( apart from ALR exclusions or non-farm use, or Homesite severances ) of these 17 applications to subdivide - all were refused by the ALC. So wether you designate your minimum lot size as 2 ha or 10 ha, if your land is in the ALR, the ALC, for all practical purposes, does NOT approve ANY subdivision.

So designating all the ALR land in Coldstream as RU-10 changes nothing for 77.6% of the parcels. Wether they are called RU-2 or RU-10, they remain the same size that they are, and they are clearly not able to be subdivided. The perceived change comes for the owners of the remaining 184 parcels (22.33% of the parcels), these parcels are over 4ha.

We have already established that the ALC practice is NOT to approve subdivision in the ALR regardless of the minimum parcel size stipulated in a Community's OCP.

So in changing the zoning to RU-10 in our OCP we are simply bringing the Community zoning in line with the reality of the rules of the ALC, and the desire to maintain land in the ALR in the Province of British Columbia, rather than see it cut up into smaller and smaller chunks. In Coldstream there are only 32 parcels totally or partially in the ALR that are larger than 20 ha., so theoretically they may still be sub-dividable into minimum 10 ha. parcels but that is unlikely because it would also require ALC approval. That portion only represents 3.9% of the ALR parcels in Coldstream and the Agricultural Advisory Committee felt that there would not be significantly higher advantage to increase the minimum lot size to 30hectares ( as recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture) because it would be perceived as too harsh. So therefore the 10 ha minimum parcel size is a compromise, but it does not change the reality of ALC policy and historical decisions.

The sad reality is that Coldstream's ALR has already been subdivided into small chunks, it just may not appear that way because many of those smaller chunks may be farmed together as one larger entity. For example; the Coldstream Ranch is made up of 129 parcels, and 47% of these parcels ( 61) are already subdivided into chunks that are less than 4hectares in size.

We have just witnessed the sale of Jamie Kidston's orchard, it had appeared to everyone as one farm, but it was actually made up of 4 parcels ( that were subdivided long ago), three were sold off to separate owners, and they risk becoming Country Estates. Fortunately, for now, the new owners have agreed to keep farming the land as one orchard and pool their resources, hopefully this will set a good example and keep farming viable for those owners.

Gyula please feel free to post this as I hope it will serve to better explain the reasoning behind the changes to zoning proposed in the new Coldstream Agricultural Plan.

Maria Besso

Urgent Message To the CRA membership:

If you are in support of Coldstream Council's Zoning Bylaw Amendment (to preserve ALR land) which specifies that future subdivision of ALR land be limited to a minimum parcel size of 10 hectares, please go to Municipal Hall and fill out the appropriate form, or go to Coldstream's Website:

The deadline for doing this is today (Mar. 28).
Since this is such short notice, please respond at least by supporting the item entitled New Rural 10 (RU.10) Zone – lot area 2ha to 10ha, as it sends the message that you support this council in its endeavours to honour the OCP and protect and preserve our agricultural lands.

Thank you for your support.
Steve Heeren, Acting President,
Coldstream Ratepayers Association

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah just fill out the forms it doesn't matter if you really undersdtand the implications to some people. Blindly follow your leader without having the proper time to read all the particulars.

(This seems similiar to the current council's way of doing business without taking the time to understand all of the issues and effects of their seemingly endless barrage of new bylaws. Property owners have been cut off and not allowed to voice their concerns. It's a @#$%^&* joke!)

Coldstream Ratepayers News! All Coldstream residents are ratepayers!

The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss;


We must protect our rights and freedom! (Photo courtesy of D. Gibson) Click on eagle to watch EAGLECAMS

About Me

My photo
I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.