New agricultural land rules will support farming families, say NDP MLA Mike Starchuk

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SURREY – New Democrat MLA Mike Starchuk say new rules will add flexibility and increased housing options for a small secondary home in the Agricultural Land Reserve. The additional residence can be used for anything from housing extended family to an agritourism accommodation, to housing for farm labour, to a rental property for supplemental income.

“Our government is committed to protecting farmland and supporting food security,” said Mike Starchuk, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale. “People in Cloverdale have a unique connection to the land and I’m proud we are supporting farmers by providing flexibility to build additional residences on their properties and increase housing for their families.”

The new rules will increase stability of local food systems by increasing economic opportunities for farm owners. These changes will also allow for a streamlined approval process in which applicants only need to apply to a local government or First Nation government, rather than the Agricultural Land Commission.

Flexible housing options permitted under the regulation include, but are not limited to:

  • garden suites, guest houses or carriage suites,
  • accommodation above an existing building,
  • manufactured homes, and
  • permitting a principal residence to be constructed in addition to a manufactured home that was formerly a principal residence.

There is no longer a requirement that additional residences must be used by the landowner or immediate family members.

This new residential flexibility is the result of an engagement process that included discussions with farmers and the greater community. The new rules will come into effect December 31, 2021.