Cities move to close Chilliwack’s ‘llama loophole’

Two resolutions put forth by City of Chilliwack were passed unanimously at the recent LMLGA Conference.

A couple of positive developments for Chilliwack came out of the recent Lower Mainland Local Government Association conference in Whistler.

“We were two for two,” said Jason Lum, the LMLGA rep for Chilliwack and city councillor.

He’s referring to two resolutions put forth by City of Chilliwack, which passed unanimously at the LMLGA Conference on May 7-9.

One of the resolutions sought to have UBCM ask the province to amend the Assessment Act so that land could not be “reclassified” for farm use if it’s already zoned for commercial, industrial or business purposes. That is it couldn’t be reclassified, unless the farm use “pre-dates the zoning, is the principal use, and the lands are continuously used for farm purposes,” according to the resolution.

Municipalities have been discussing situations where this is happening, and how it’s impacting them.

“The idea is for UBCM to request that the province close the loophole which would allow someone to claim farm status on land not zoned for that use,” he said.

Going from industrial or commercial use, to farm use, would result in a steep reduction in taxes.

“If everyone did this, it would be potentially disastrous for B.C. municipalities,” he said. “The losses would have to be made up for in other tax brackets.”

He said zoning bylaws should be respected, and said the resolution would empower local governments’ zoning bylaws to ensure the use is consistent with what the municipality envisions.

“As local governments, we spend all this time looking at the long-term land use for our communities. If we’re just meant to tax on the land use, or the perceived use, and not look at the underlying zoning, what’s the point? It undermines the actual intent of the zoning.”

Coun. Lum gave the example of medical marijuana rules, which have changed.

“In Chilliwack we will have special industrial zoning. But if someone were to apply for farm status under the current rules, they would receive it. What would happen is that taxpayers would be effectively subsiding that loss in tax revenue,” he said.

The resolution preamble included the line: “Inequities between property owners may result because farm land is assessed at a significantly lower rate than commercial or industrial land.”

The second resolution from Chilliwack was that UBCM seek “greater funding” from the province for Restorative Justice Program to cost share in Restorative Justice programs across the province.

They’re looking to secure stable and predictable funding for restorative programs, the value of which has been repeatedly recognized, in Chilliwack, and across B.C., the councillor noted.

“This one was easily endorsed by the whole assembly,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we kept the momentum going.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack RCMP seek ID of man caught by bait car camera

Police say man is wanted for identity theft connected to incident downtown on Feb. 5

Chilliwack court to decide on allowing assistance dog to sit with sex assault witness

Yellow lab Caber helps calm people in crisis, in police interviews and in courthouse appearances

Chilliwack Special Olympics launches into spring season

Bocce ball, soccer, softball and golf highlight the offerings for 87-plus local athletes.

Rupert the Bunny sidelined due to deadly virus outbreak

Chilliwack’s famous therapy rabbit quarantined for his own safety, people not at risk

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Local rock hound carves a 9-tonne granite grizzly bear

Chilliwack’s Paul McCarl’s about to complete a carving project 14 years in the making

Lower Mainland rabbits confirmed killed by highly-infectious virus

Feral colony on Annacis Island in Delta died from hemorrhagic disease. Pet rabbits could be at risk

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

Most Read