The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has the capacity to delegate certain of its powers, allowing local government to make non-farm land use and subdivision decisions in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Section 26 (5) of the Agricultural Land Commission Act (the "ALC Act") allows that decisions made by local governments in these circumstances have the same legal effect as decisions of the ALC. The ALC Act is clear that a delegation agreement is a mechanism for fulfilling the goals of the ALR and in no way elevates local government concerns above the mandate of the ALC. The power of delegation does not include the ability to add or remove land from the ALR.
While a delegation agreement is entered into voluntarily by both parties, the ALC must carefully weigh the ability of a local government to carry out its statutory obligations under the ALC Act. Contents of a delegation agreement can include: principles, criteria or policies related to the decisions being delegated and clearly communicated expectations related to information requirements, application processes, form and content of decisions, timelines, communication policy, reviews, audits and evaluations, addressing conflicts, and when changes to the agreement are necessary and how they are to be made. Considerable training may be required for a local government to assume the delegated authority and to properly execute the statutory role under the ALC Act.
The ALC retains the right to withdraw a delegation agreement if the terms of the agreement are abrogated in any way.
Active Local Government Delegation Agreements
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George
The ALC entered into a delegation agreement with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George in 2001 which grants decision making powers for subdivision and non-farm use applications within approved official community plan areas. In 2013, the ALC completed its review of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George Delegation Agreement.
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George Delegation Agreement
Regional District of East Kootenay
The ALC has two agreements with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), both of which grant the RDEK authority to make decisions on subdivision and non-farm use applications.
The first agreement, which initially came into effect in 2004 is for the area covered by the Wasa-Ta Ta Creek-Skookumchuck-Sheep Creek Land Use Bylaw No.1625.
The second agreement is for the Elk Valley area and came into effect in August 2010. This agreement followed a review of the boundaries of the ALR undertaken by the RDEK in co-operation with the ALC.