Agriculture is an important part of Chilliwack’s landscape and economy; it accounts for 67% of the City’s total land base and 29% of economic activity. Chilliwack’s Official Community Plan (OCP) recognizes the importance of agriculture through goals and objectives that support effective growth management, and the strengthening of agriculture, through implementation of Chilliwack’s Agricultural Area Plan (AAP) in coordination, and consultation with the City’s Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee; the Chilliwack Agricultural Commission - Business in Chilliwack and other community partners.
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In 2012, the City took an important step in agricultural promotion by collaborating with Chilliwack Agricultural Commission/Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation in the preparation of an Agricultural Area Plan. To monitor the Plan’s effectiveness, Council has appointed an Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee, which is also tasked to provide feedback on development applications that might impact agriculture. The Agricultural Area Plan forms part of the Official Community Plan as Schedule D3.
This policy has been developed to support the Approving Officer making decisions regarding boundary adjustment proposals in the Agricultural Land Reserve, as enabled through the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation for the purpose of enhancing an existing farm, or better utilizing farm buildings for farm purposes.
In 2017, Council adopted amendments to the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw, establishing farm home plate regulations (Development Permit Area 9) for the siting of, and area occupied by, new homes on valley floor farmland to minimize the impact of residential uses on farm land and protect farm land in the long term. The farm home plate is defined as the portion of property where all residential and related buildings, structures and activities are located, leaving the balance of the property for agricultural use.
Under Section 20.3(1) of the ALC Act, a Notice of Intent (NOI) is necessary to place fill or remove soil from ALR land in excess of what is permitted under the ALR Use Regulation.
To promote beekeeping and support the local agricultural industry, the City has adopted an Urban Beekeeping Bylaw to allow residents of Chilliwack to keep bees in urban areas.