Large houses still possible on ALR land

City council in Richmond, B.C., has voted to maintain the status quo for house sizes in the Agriculture Land Reserve.

It allows for a house size of 10,764 sq. feet.

“What was approved by council by a six to three vote was we go with the status quo,” said councillor Linda McPhail.

“I voted in favour of going with the status quo. We heard time and time again from farmers in our community that we were bringing in things that had, when you speak of speculation, some of the dialogue, we should be, as a council, should be bringing in regulations that would have the potential to decrease the value of farmland.…

“Farmers were saying to us, we need that equity. It’s expensive if you need to buy equipment. Some of this equipment is hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s not fair that for many of them, some of them have owned their properties for a long time, but it’s not so much how long they’ve owned the property but why are you taking farmers and putting them under the microscope and saying your land shouldn’t be allowed to have equity in it.”

Councillor Carol Day voted against the measure.

“The opportunity was there to reduce the size of houses on farmland. Unfortunately, our motion was not passed and, subsequently, we will continue to allow 10,764 sq. foot houses on the best land for farming in British Columbia,” she said.

“Richmond is being destroyed by monster houses, mansions and castles.”

Day thinks the decision was short sighted.

“All you need is a desire to farm it and you will grow more food than you can possibly even imagine,” she said.

“This is extremely important because once you pave over farmland with tennis courts, swimming pools, movie theatres and 11,000 sq. foot towering houses, you ruin the land for life.”

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