Warning! Your zoning doesn’t necessarily mean you can use that zoning!
In fact, you may not be able to use your land at all – if the Agricultural Land Commission of B.C. decrees it.
1. An application is sent by the Regional District to the Province to approve zoning of ½ sec. in the Agricultural Land Reserve from Lg. Ag. Holdings to ‘Residential’ on the grounds the land is non-farmable and the area is predominantly Residential. Accompanying is a letter from local agriculturalist/agrologist stating: ‘the land is of the lowest quality & better-suited for subdivision to provide high-in-demand acreages to save our ¼ sec. of good food land from being bought up for residential purposes when an acreage would furnish that need just as well.’
2. The Land Commission (an appointed board that we are unable to vote out) is contacted for their input, but declines to respond because they have no justification for a refusal (the Act/law states they have control over farmland only).
3. Having waited in vain for over a year for an approval/disapproval from the LC (Land Commission), the Province/government uses the input from the local government agriculturalist upon which to base a positive decision to approve and register the zoning and include it as such in the Official Community Plan as “Residential” since it was government certified as not being farmland.
4. The Regional District informs the landowner he can proceed with the subdivision. But, the LC then steps up and says, ‘ we decree this zoning has no effect because we didn’t submit an approval to the Province for it.’ Apparently the LC, alone, retains the power to say what is farmland and what is not. They over ride the Regional District’s decision, Province’s decision plus 3 professional agrologist reports (2 government reports and 1 private), plus the district MLA who all say the land is not feasible to farm, not to mention that Canada Land Inventory blanket rated it in the 50’s as “Forestry ” using aerial photos only, as they did not consider it farmland. If they are allowed to overrule all these government entities without employing truth and reasonableness, we are in trouble. The Land Commission apparently has other priority reasons for not listening to the land owner’s pleas ..…..that this action leaves him with no use of his land. LC advises, ‘I can save you legal expenses because no Judge in B.C. can overturn our decision’. Perhaps they have not yet been introduced to democracy? Or the Canadian Constitution & Bill of Rights which ensures people in Canada “ the right to enjoyment of property”.
If you are one of the landowners in this situation, or have a legitimate complaint of injustice regarding the Land Commission of B.C., or have input or support for this cause, contact Jo Middleton, firstname.lastname@example.org to join a Citizen’s Movement to Right Injustices of the ALC. Or, perhaps with our support, Pat Pimm, MLA PRN can get this to Cabinet for a more rapid resolution. After all, what good is a Cabinet that cannot over rule an appointed board?
Fort St. John, B.C.