Gord Milsom

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom

Milsom file pics in Edited Copy

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom is supporting changes to Agricultural Land Reserve regulations that will make it easier for farm owners to build housing.

Updates to Agricultural Land Commission Act regulations will make it more affordable for multi-generational farmers to apply to build housing that meets their needs, a provincial news release declared on Friday.

Fees to build additional housing on farm land will be reduced from $1,500 to $900. The fee reduction follows feedback from local governments, farmers and others living in the ALR, the release said.

"West Kelowna's agricultural land base and the ALR are vital components to the fabric of our community," the release quotes Milsom as saying. "The proposed changes to the ALC fee structure will support our farmers by reducing costs to build housing and will further recognize the role local governments have in evaluating applications.

"By making applications more accessible and assisting local governments with processing, we can continue to work collectively to protect our food-producing land base and support jobs in the agricultural industry," he said.

Each application will continue to be reviewed by the ALC to ensure it is consistent with its mandate to preserve farmland and encourage agriculture.

In recognition of the work local governments and First Nations contribute to the process, the portion of the fees they receive will increase by 50%, from $300 to $450.

Additional amendments to the regulations will make it easier for farmers on large land parcels to maintain roads on their properties.

The changes will take effect Sept. 30.