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. Approximately 4,993 hectares (12,338 acres) of Richmond's land base is located within the ALR (39%). This percentage of farmable land requires the City to carefully manage municipal growth while protecting some of the most productive agricultural land in 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. 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 and removal.
This application process is overseen by the Community Bylaw Department. In addition, the department is tasked with responding to public complaints and proactively monitoring agricultural lands. The mandate of the department is to ensure compliance with Bylaw No. 8094 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 the construction of a single family residence and the excavation or deposit exceeds 0.2 hectares of the entire parcel (ALC Policy No. L-15).
Soil Removal and Fill Deposition Application Process
The first step in the process is to register for an ALC I.D. and to complete an online application. Please refer to the ALC website for fees and instructions related to the application process - ALC Application Portal. Applications must be accompanied with information such as certificate of title, site proposal, photographs, etc.
The second step in the application process is to submit a "Soil Removal / Fill Deposit" application form to the City via Schedule C of Bylaw No. 8094. In addition, a Building Requirements (Site Plan) may be required if the fill deposition is related to residential construction. A $600 City application fee is due upon submission and all applications remain subject to successive review by the following authorities:
For a more detailed outline of the application process please refer to the City's Permit Requirements Checklist.
Supplemental Information and Forms
The Community Bylaw Department in conjunction with the above Committees and Council may request additional information in order to clarify and / or support an application.
Be advised that property owners appointing a representative to act on their behalf must complete and sign a Letter of Authorization.
Environmental criteria may apply to your application, consequently you are advised to refer to the following information:
- Watercourse Protection (Riparian Management Areas) - Bulletin Info-23
- 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