New rules to the Agricultural Land Reserve are going to increase housing flexibility on Vancouver Island.

Starting December 31st, those living in ALR areas will have the option for a secondary home, meaning they will be allowed to have both a primary residence and small secondary residence on their property.

The second residence can be used for extended family, agritourism accommodation, housing for farm labour or a rental property, and no longer needs to be used by the landowner or immediate family.

Some examples of 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.

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.says the changes are coming after some feedback was received in regional engagement sessions and to the ministry’s policy intentions paper, where ALR landowners made it clear they wanted this type of residential flexibility.

“We took the time to listen and come up with solutions that will help both farmers and non-farmers alike, while protecting the integrity of our valuable agricultural land. We hope this regulatory change will assist new farmers starting their businesses, encourage landowners to partner with new farmers to get their land into production, and address the needs of British Columbian families,” explains Popham.

“Having an option for housing opens up new doors to families and provides more opportunities for more agricultural land to go into production, increasing our province’s food security”, she added.

You can see a map of all the ALR’s on Vancouver Island below.