B.C. city council ducks decision on housing size in land reserve

Discussions continue around house sizes on farmland in the agricultural land reserve in Richmond, B.C.

At a city council meeting at the end of March, council deferred a decision on limiting the size of homes on ALR land and voted to send the matter back to city staff for more information.

Carol Day, a member of Richmond city council, voted against sending the motion back.

“It was wrong in my opinion because everybody was there. Everybody had spoken for 3 1/2 hours. Why would we send it back? Why did we need more information?

“The whole farmland issue is now back in staff hands and I don’t know what they’re supposed to do because they have done their job. They provided us with nine options. It’s our job to make a decision but some of the councillors refused to make the decision.”

Linda McPhail, the Richmond city council member who requested the issue be referred back to staff, said the city has been wrestling over the size of houses in the ALR for a couple of years.

However, it gained new attention when a city planning committee learned about an application for a 40,000 sq. foot house.

“That really woke us all up. So, we thought we really have to do something.”

She said last May the city put forth bylaw changes, which have now come before council following a public review.

“I know it’s a really contentious issue in our community and every single person who has come to speak to us says they are concerned about farming and farmers and agriculture,” she said.

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