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Landscape design proposals without visiting the locations of proposed residential development projects in Metro Vancouver have been thrown out by the Lower Mainland’s regional planning body.
The Joint Land Use Planning Committee (JLUC) of Metro Vancouver's regional government recently sent a letter to residents and business owners concerned about plans to build residential and commercial developments on land that could be zoned as rural in the municipality’s Official Community Plan. The residents and businesses are worried that, under a draft plan of this nature, their communities could lose their rural nature and, in turn, be adversely impacted in a variety of ways.
However, the JLUC claims its mandate only covers land within the jurisdiction of Metro Vancouver. Therefore, the committee’s letter, dated Nov. 18, cannot be applied to all of the land proposed for residential and commercial development in the Greater Vancouver Area.
“The letter in the public record is specifically about the [JLUC] jurisdiction,” said a JLUC spokesperson. “The JLUC’s jurisdiction is the Vancouver-Point Grey area and its jurisdiction specifically extends to all lands where land use planning is in effect. The [JLUC] letter does not cover areas outside of the Vancouver area, which include the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, North Okanagan Land District, Peace Arch, Boundary, Regional District of Central Kootenay, Cariboo Regional District, Nelson Maple Leafs, West Kootenay Regional District, Cranbrook Regional District, Nelson Lakes Regional District, District of Pemberton, District of Wells, Lake Country, Columbia-Kootenay District, Boundary-Similkameen Regional District, Central Interior Regional District, Okanagan Regional District, North Okanagan Regional District, Similkameen Regional District, Shuswap Regional District and the Flathead Regional District, or for that matter any agricultural land throughout the rest of the province.
The JLUC has jurisdiction for this land under various Provincial legislation such as the Agricultural Land Management Act and the Agricultural Land Reserve, as well as the Agricultural Land District.
The JLUC’s jurisdiction is separate from the Agricultural Land Reserve. While the Agricultural Land Reserve is defined by statute, it does not apply to agricultural land that is used for other purposes such as agricultural production, the production of food and timber and the processing of timber.
The Agricultural Land Management Act defines an agricultural land as land that is used for the production of agricultural crops, livestock, livestock products, or forest products, or to meet domestic or industrial consumption of agricultural products such as grain, wheat, flour, etc.
The Agricultural Land Reserve can apply to that portion of an agricultural land that is not being used for its principal purpose, but only if the Minister of Agriculture has approved it for the purposes of preserving farmland, the Rural Cattle Market Development Program, or other conservation purposes.
When it comes to agricultural land and the Agricultural Land Reserve, every jurisdiction has a slightly different definition. The Ministry has to accept land for the Agricultural Land Reserve by means of a Land Acquisition Certificate (LAC), as per provincial legislation, before it becomes an Agricultural Land Reserve. The LAC must be obtained within three years after the Agricultural Land Management Act took effect.
Once an Agricultural Land Reserve is approved, a Land Acquisition Certificate (LAC) will be issued and then the land is added to the Agricultural Land Reserve, which then becomes a legal reserve in perpetuity. It can never be alienated or sold, unless it is a former agricultural land that is now owned by a person other than a corporation.
The Agricultural Land Reserve Act and all land included in the Agricultural Land Reserve is also exempt from taxation and property transfer tax.
For anyone planning to acquire agricultural land, be it for themselves or for their business, it is important to read the legislation to know the requirements for acquiring land that is considered as agricultural land in a specific province.
Agricultural Land Regulations
In addition to the Agricultural Land Reserve Act, there are several other pieces of legislation in place to govern what is considered as agricultural land.The Provincial Government is responsible for issuing these regulations to guide land owners and the ministry in setting an Agricultural Land Reserve and all land that is considered agricultural land must comply with these regulations, which are in addition to the Agricultural Land Reserve Act. These regulations can be found here:
Land used for agricultural purposes includes the following:
Any land or building, or the portion of a land or building used to conduct an agricultural, farming, horticulture, or fish farming business
Any land, water, building, and structure which is being used or intended to be used for a farming, agricultural, horticultural, or fish farming business
The land must be in close proximity to a well regulated agricultural land market in a rural or remote part of the province in order for it to be considered agricultural land
A farmer must be actively engaged in the farming activity
An operator can acquire a land that is considered agricultural land for a particular purpose and the operator can have multiple purposes for land in this category
A corporation cannot acquire land in this category unless it has been approved by the ministry
An agricultural, or grazing land must have an owner who is not an entity such as a corporation or individual
The definition of agricultural land or farming activity can be found under the Agricultural Land Reserve Act
The definition of agriculture can be found under the Agriculture Act and a farm can be included in this definition of agriculture
The above land is exempt from property tax and property transfer tax as long as it is classified as agricultural land in a specific province.
A definition of agricultural land and other related terms can be found under the Agriculture Act, however there is no specific definition for agriculture itself as long as it is used in the Agriculture Act.
The federal government owns approximately 4.6 million hectares of agricultural land across Canada and the Agricultural Land Reserve is one of the largest land holdings of this category. Ontario alone has approximately 2 million hectares of this type of land and is the largest contributor.
The federal government is also responsible for the majority of Canada's food production, in the United States the federal government is responsible for almost 50 percent of the country's food production. As such the federal government is a major contributor to the production of food.
In this example there is only one land owner and that is a farmer. However, this land can be split and sold into small parcels that are then purchased by individuals or other farmers who will then start farming and will pay property tax and transfer tax on these smaller parcels
In this example there are four land owners and the majority of land is owned by the farmer.
Each land owner or lessee can farm on any or all of these parcels of land. Each land owner will own the land and is responsible for payment of tax and transfer tax, however it is common that the farmer will own the land but is leasing it to another farmer or a grower to farm.
If the landowner has leased the land the land owner can purchase that land once the lease is finished or there can be a lease amendment where land can be returned to the farmer without paying off the landowner.
Generally land ownership is considered to be the main factor of how much tax is paid, however the amount of tax can be determined on the basis of the value of crops the farmer can produce, on the land itself or on any buildings that are there, however there are many other factors that are taken into consideration.
In the above land example, the landowner would be responsible for paying tax and transfer tax based on the value of crops that could be grown on the land. In the case of a landlord it