A South Shuswap man says he didn’t have a chance to address compliance issues on his newly purchased agricultural property before the Agricultural Land Commission came knocking.
Brad Long says he took full ownership of a lot at 2236 Balmoral Road on December 14. Two days prior, he says the Columbia Shuswap Regional District came banging on his door to discuss non-compliant agricultural uses on his property which is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Subsequently, Long was issued a contravention letter by the ALC for non-compliant commercial activity that includes storage of boats, RVs and other goods. He has until Friday, April 26 to submit a non-farm use application to the ALC.
“Otherwise, we will start using some of our tools in our compliance and enforcement tool chest,” says ALC director of operations Avtar Sundher, adding Long has been co-operative with the ALC and the two are working to rectify the non-compliance.
However, Long says news of his compliance issues have hurt his reputation.
“I’m running a business here and I’m not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes or pull a fast one,” says Long. “I just bought the property and didn’t even have a chance to start dealing with it.”
Asked if he knew about the compliance issues before purchasing the property, Long says he was aware of a boat repair operation on a portion of the property that wasn’t a permitted farm use, and that he met with his lawyer to work out how to bring it into compliance.
“So, I mean, I was proactive before I even bought the property,” said Long.
As for parts of the property being used for storage, Long says he had spoken with the CSRD prior to his issues with the ALC and was led to believe it was a permitted use.
“But it takes ALC to tell you that. I mean, CSRD was mistaken as well apparently,” says Long.
Another focus of the ALC is a new building constructed by Long that he says was intended for an agricultural use, he just hadn’t determined what that use would be. He says the plan now is to use the building for boarding horses.
“I basically had to make a decision and get this non-farm use application in before April 26, or they’re going to throw more grief at me,” said Long.
Sundher explained that with the application, it’s up to Long to prove to the ALC that the building will be used for a permitted agricultural use.
“If it’s in use for permitted farm uses, then he has to have a non-farm use application,” said Sundher. “A lot of times there’s farm equipment that needs storage, tractors and other equipment for plowing and that sort of thing and that would be fine. But it doesn’t sound like that’s what he’s using this building for.”
Long says he currently has three parties interested in boarding their horses with him who are now holding off until the application goes through.