Soil Management in the Agricultural Land Reserve
The City of Richmond's continued commitment to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) for future agricultural viability supports Council's Term Goal #4:
"Continue advancement of the City's sustainability framework and initiatives to improve the short and long-term livability of our City, and that maintain Richmond's position as a leader in sustainable programs, practices and innovations."
Soil is an important natural resource in Richmond with approximately 4,993 hectares (12,338 acres) of the City's land base located within the ALR (39%). This percentage of farm land requires the City to carefully manage municipal growth, while protecting some of the most productive agricultural property within the country.
Roles in Regulating Land in the ALR
The Agricultural Land Commission
The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is responsible for regulating activity on agricultural lands throughout the province and the ALC derives its authority from the following:
The City of Richmond
Richmond City Council enacted Soil Removal and Fill Deposit Regulation Bylaw No. 8094, in order to regulate soil removal and fill deposition within the ALR. This bylaw is based on provincial legislation and grants the City shared oversight for vetting applications and issuing permits in relation to soil deposition or removal.
This application process is overseen by the Community Bylaw Department, which is also tasked with responding to public complaints and proactively monitoring agricultural lands. The mandate of the department is to ensure regulatory compliance through education, mediation, progressive enforcement and prosecution.
Fill Removal and Soil Deposit Permits
Joint Jurisdiction of the City and the ALC
No person is allowed to remove soil or deposit fill on any lands located within the ALR except in accordance with the City of Richmond and the ALC. Consequently, land owners or agents wanting to do so must obtain a permit from the City when the activity does not qualify for an "exemption" under "Part 3" of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation. In addition, a permit is required when the activity is associated with construction of a single family residence and the planned excavation or deposit is expected to exceed 0.2 hectares of the entire parcel (ALC Policy No. L-15).
Soil Removal and Fill Deposition Application Process
The first step in the application process is to complete and submit a “Soil Removal / Fill Deposit" application, in accordance with Schedule C of Soil Removal and Fill Deposit Regulation Bylaw No. 8094. All applications must be accompanied with a Certificate of Title, as well as a cheque in the amount of $600 payable to the City of Richmond (non-refundable application fee). In addition, a Corporate Registry must be provided if the registered owner identifies as a company.
Property owners appointing a representative to act on their behalf (agent) must also complete and sign a Letter of Authorization (if such information is not provided on their application). Further, a Building Site Plan may be required when the proposed fill deposition is associated with residential construction.
For a more detailed outline of the application process please refer to the City's Permit Requirements Checklist
Application Review Process
Following receipt of all prescribed documentation City staff may request additional information, in order to clarify and or support the application.
In addition, the property owner or agent may be required to register for a BCeID and complete an online application through the ALC's Application Portal. (additional fees apply).
Be advised that all applications are subject to successive review by the following authorities:
Environmental criteria may apply to your application so you are advised to refer to the following:
- Watercourse Protection (Riparian Management Areas) - Bulletin Info 23
- Environmentally Sensitive Areas Management Strategy
- Tree Protection (Tree Bylaw Bulletin)
Soil Inquiries / Complaints
To inquire about a soil matter or to report unauthorized soil removal or fill deposition (within the ALR), please contact the Community Bylaw Department at 604-276-4345 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org