Salmon Arm city council chose not to support the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) exclusion applications for two adjacent properties at the west-end of town.
The subject properties are owned by Country Camping and Cancorp properties respectively. Both properties are zoned for highway commercial use along their highway frontage and for agriculture use from the commercial zoning boundary to the Salmon River.
All councillors except Mayor Nancy Cooper opposed the ALR exclusion. Coun. Kevin Flynn declared a conflict of interest on the applications because his company does business with Country Camping and so did not vote.
Both the city’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and Development and Planning Service Committee previously voted to oppose the exclusion.
As part of the highway expansion project at the west end of Salmon Arm, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans to build a road through the properties to access the subject properties as well as a third property to the west. The road will run approximately down the dividing line between the commercial and agricultural zoned portions of the properties.
Highway access to the subject properties will be removed once the highway expansion is complete.
The applications for an ALR exclusion were referred to Salmon Arm council by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). By denying the exclusion, council has effectively stopped the exclusion process.
Coun. Chad Eliason expressed concern that properties further west may want exclusion from the ALR as well if it is approved for the subject properties.
If the property was excluded from the ALR and eventually rezoned for commercial use, there could be no commercial development within 30 metres of the Salmon River’s high water mark. A qualified environmental professional and B.C. land surveyor would have to determine the high water mark. The setbacks do not apply for agricultural use of the property.
Coun. Tim Lavery pointed out the official community plan does not support further expansion of highway commercial area in that part of Salmon Arm.
“I think this is a difficult application to support. I know that soil classification four and five are not top grade soils but you don’t need top grade soil to be productive, there can be other agricultural uses,” said Coun. Ken Jamieson.
Eliason said he is also worried about commercial properties creeping westward into agricultural land and thinks the subject properties should be under similar scrutiny to the SmartCentres development.
“If the farm to the west of these properties is being farmed then I have a hard time believing the northern part of these properties couldn’t also be used for agriculture,” he said.