Farming rules relaxed in Gabriola community plan amendments

NANAIMO – Gabriola Island allows tourist accommodation and secondary suites on Agricultural Land Reserve.

Gabriola farmers can now offer secondary suites and tourist accommodation in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

New changes have been made to Gabriola Island’s Official Community Plan to give a boost to local farmers and food production, as well as protect streams and limit car use.

The latest amendments are considered to be progressive and the most significant since the vision for Gabriola was first adopted in 1997, according to Courtney Simpson, regional planning manager for Islands Trust’s northern office.

The most innovative for Gabriola is allowing secondary suites and tourist accommodations on farm properties, she says.

There are more than 5,000 hectares of ALR across Gabriola and the new policy is aimed at helping farmers and providing accommodation on site for seasonal workers and people doing work exchanges. Residents have outlined difficulties to farming in the community, including lack of a labour pool and affordable housing for farm labour, a community profile shows.

“Farmers are struggling all over the place … and certainly on Gabriola and I think that this is a change that respects the scale of development on Gabriola, the scale of farming, the rural character but still provides an economic opportunity for farmers so they can keep farming,” Simpson said.

Heather Nicholas, Gabriola Island local trustee, calls the new policy a win-win with agricultural, economic and tourism benefits.

Nichols added it was an attempt to make it easier for farmers to have seasonal workers and volunteers through Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, as well as agri-tourism. Road-side farm stands are also now legal

Plan amendments also include stream protection to comply with provincial regulations and new parking rules that will give developers a maximum number of parking stalls to provide instead of a minimum. Property owners will have more flexibility to determine what parking is needed for a business but will also take a risk if they don’t provide enough, according to Simpson, who says developers are in control of the decision as opposed to it being mandated by local government.

While not without criticism, Simpson said it’s done in a lot of areas to encourage greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motor home burns up at north Nanaimo intersection

No one hurt in incident Friday morning at old Island Highway, Rutherford Road and Mostar Road

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at parking lot at Lowe’s last month

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s Island’s turn for investment in light rail

Convert rail right-of-way to a double-tracked light rail system, says letter writer

RDN signs deal with Nanaimo Recycling Exchange to conduct waste audits

RDN working on mandatory waste-separation bylaw for industrial, commercial, institutional sectors

Nanaimo RCMP community policing needs a few good volunteers

Volunteers needed to help Nanaimo RCMP and city deliver crime prevention and safety programs

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Region could use a couple of large facilities for seniors on the north part of the Island

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

Most Read