Langford’s Agricultural Strategy - Intro

Langford's Agricultural Strategy article


Langford’s Agricultural Strategy


The City of Langford embarked on a comprehensive review of Langford’s Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2006. The new award-winning OCP, adopted in June 2008, contains a number of policies in Section 11 intended to promote and support the agricultural sector and food security in Langford, and provides the guiding principles of Langford’s Agricultural Strategy.

In Langford there are 83 separate parcels of land representing 118 ha (292 acres) in the ALR (refer to Figure 1). Of these, 28 are less than 0.8 ha (2 acres), 33 parcels are between 0.8 ha (2 acres) and 2 ha (5 acres), 19 parcels are between 2 ha (5 acres) and 4 ha (10 acres) and 3 parcels are between 4 ha (10 acres) and 4.8 ha (12 acres). There are no single parcels of land in Langford that are within the ALR, and larger than 4.8 ha (12 acres). The dominant land use is rural residential, and there are only three commercial agricultural operations and several hobby farms.

Figure 1. Lands within the ALR


Agriculture has and will continue to play a vital role in the social, environmental and economic well-being of Langford. Increasingly, food is becoming one of the most important issues to address due to its associations with human and environmental health and the economy, and its vulnerability in the face of rising energy costs and climate change. Access to safe, locally produced food and an emphasis on the environment, healthy eating and community involvement are key to long-term growth and sustainability of the agricultural and food sectors in Langford.

Figure 2. South Langford Figure 3. South Langford


At the regular meeting of Council on October 16th, 2006 Council passed the following resolution with respect to agricultural lands in Langford:

That Council:

1. Direct staff to establish a new amenity fee secured at the time of all rezoning approvals in the amount of $500 per residential unit and $500 per 3000 sq. feet of commercial floor area, to contribute to the ALR Acquisition Fund; 2. Direct staff to undertake an agricultural viability assessment of all ALR land within the City of Langford using consultants as necessary; 3. Direct staff to prepare an agricultural management strategy that would encourage Council to acquire and manage all viable ALR land identified in the agricultural viability assessment over time.

The first part of this resolution has now been completed and implemented within Table 1 of the Affordable Housing, Parks and Amenity Contribution Policy (please refer to Appendix A). In 2008, Council increased the amenity fee contribution to $600 or $800 per residential unit, depending on the area in Langford.

The second part of this resolution has also been completed by the City commissioning a study prepared by C&F Land Resource Consultants titled “Agricultural Suitability Review for the South Langford Plan Area” which addresses exclusively those lands that are currently within the ALR.

The objectives of this study were to:

• Develop a reconnaissance soil survey of the ALR area;

• Produce a reconnaissance agricultural capability map of the ALR plan area;

• Carry out an agricultural suitability assessment for the ALR plan area;

• Assess the parcel size pattern within the plan area and suggest adjustments to rationalize land use and improve agricultural opportunities;

• Consider and suggest infrastructure improvements to enhance agricultural use;

• Suggest possible ALR boundary adjustments consistent with the agricultural suitability of the ALR lands and coexistence with proposed land use on the non-ALR lands;

• Discuss the issues of agricultural suitability, parcelization and rationalization of the ALR boundary with Agricultural Land Commission staff; and

• Consider benefits to agriculture which might be offered in return for exclusion of certain lands from the ALR and suggest a methodology for approaching the Commission to initiate the exclusions.

A copy of this report is available in Appendix B of this strategy.

Challenges and Opportunities

Identified in the OCP are the following regional and local challenges and opportunities surrounding agriculture and food security that are acknowledged and taken into consideration when preparing the Agricultural Strategy.

• Food self reliance is an issue gaining some interest in communities on Vancouver Island; 5% to 10% of the food consumed on the island is grown on the island. 95% of the food is therefore imported leading to negative impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, traffic, nutritional quality of food and local economy.

• A recent community energy baseline completed for a local gulf island found that almost 40% of GHG emissions for that community could be attributed to the consumption of imported food.

• As a predominantly urban community, Langford has very little farmland; most that exists is not in production. The remaining system includes small scale growing, food stores and a Farmers’ Market.

• Some small-scale farming is found on lands that are not within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Purpose of Strategy:

The purpose of Langford’s Agricultural Strategy is to implement the policies outlined in the OCP and recommendations provided in agricultural suitability review prepared by C&F Land Resource Consultants that promote and support community agricultural activities, edge planning and the compatibility of urban/agricultural land uses. The strategic goals and objectives summarized below will be carried out by the City of Langford under the direction and support of Langford’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and Council, and in partner with developers, local businesses and organization, and residents.

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