Skip to content

City of Powell River staff prepares Agricultural Land Commission appeal

City will also apply for inclusion of land to Agricultural Land Reserve
City of Powell River chief administrative officer Russell Brewer
LAND APPEAL: City of Powell River chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said city staff is preparing an appeal of a remediation order and an application for agricultural land inclusion with the Agricultural Land Commission. David Brindle photo

BC’s Agricultural Land Commission has notified City of Powell River that its notice of appeal of a remediation order contains appropriate grounds for an appeal, according to chief administrative officer Russell Brewer.

Brewer said the city will not be proposing a land swap in its  appeal of the ALC order for the city to remediate the Hemlock Street loop.

According Brewer, the appeal and an application the city is preparing for land to be included in the Agricultural Land Reserve is not a land swap, as reported previously.

“It’s not part of the appeal; it’s separate entirely,” said Brewer. “It’s not ‘take this hectare out and give you two hectares over here.’ It’s not something they do.”

At committee of the whole on Tuesday, January 15, Brewer recommended the city apply to the ALC to include 47.4 hectares of the city’s airport reserve lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

“They don’t consider it as part of the appeal we’re doing, but obviously it signals and supports Powell River’s intention to be supporting agriculture,” said Brewer.

According to Brewer, the matter of applying to have the 47.4 hectares of airport reserve lands included in the ALR was originally brought from council in September 2015.

“During consideration of the exclusion application itself, council had discussions and expressed a desire to submit lands for inclusion in the ALR that were of equal or higher value than the lands being applied for exclusion, so there would be no net loss of ALR,” said Brewer.

In its order to remediate a section of Hemlock Street that loops around the Townsite subdivision, the ALC requires the 0.2 hectares of land be returned to agricultural capability.

“ALC knows the basis of the appeal,” said Brewer. “Now we need to provide the additional information, background information, what we’re going to be presenting for the appeal, our arguments why we’re appealing, supportive information and maybe information that they didn’t have at the time when they did their investigation.”

Brewer added that no firm date has been set but he expects the appeal to be heard in late March or early in April.

The airport reserve land is located approximately 7.5 kilometres southeast of Powell River near Black Point and consists of three lots. It is currently not in use for agricultural production.

The city contracted Madrone Environmental Services to conduct a study on inventory and the agricultural capability of the site. Madrone consultant Thomas Elliot told committee of the whole that he identified 47.4 hectares of land that has substantial potential for improvement and is capable of agricultural activity.

Agricultural land capability is on a scale of two through seven, with two being good capability and seven not practically improvable to agricultural use.

In his report to COTW, Elliot said the airport land site is generally limited to a class four level. Half of the property is class three and four, and the other half is class five to seven. There remains opportunity for agricultural practice with moderate limitations for portions of the site, according to Elliot. Limitations to land capability for agriculture are improvable to a class two to three level.

“To that end it seems like a fairly strong candidate, said Elliot, “for inclusion in the ALR to support agriculture.”