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Agricultural Regulatory Change May Affect BC Wineries

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In December 2018, the Agricultural Land Commission posted a new policy that covers the operation of alcohol production facilities (including wineries) that are located on ALR land (\”Policy L-03 – Alcohol Production Facilities in the ALR\”). This applies to many, if not most, BC wineries. The new policy can be read and downloaded here: ALC Policies and Bylaws. The change that wineries may wish to review is the addition of new criteria relating to the allowable \”development area\” for a winery on the particular parcel of ALR land upon which the winery facility is located. The new policy permits a maximum of 5% of the parcel to be used for the \”development area\”. The calculation only includes the parcel on which the production facility is located and does not extend to other land owned or leased by the winery. The definition of development area is very broad and includes all buildings, roads, parking areas and landscaping. For example, if a winery is located on a parcel of ALR land that is 10 acres, it would be permitted a development area of 0.5 acres. Many existing wineries may be off-side with this new rule. While I would not expect the ALC to enforce the policy change in respect of existing facilities, this change may affect new winery projects and any proposed changes to existing wineries. 

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