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Environmental Concerns

Soil Management in the Agricultural Land Reserve

The continued commitment to protect Richmond's 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."

agriculturalSoil is an important resource in Richmond and approximately 4,993 hectares (12,338 acres) of Richmond's land base is located within the ALR (39%). This percentage of farmable land requires Richmond 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 and for vetting applications and issuing approvals for non-farm use within the ALR. The ALC derives its authority from the following Acts and Legislation:

The City of Richmond
Richmond 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 soils and fill regulation.

This permit process is overseen by the Community Bylaw Department that is also tasked with responding to public complaints and proactively patrolling agricultural lands. The mandate of the Community Bylaw Department is to ensure compliance of Bylaw No. 8094 through education, mediation, progressive enforcement and prosecution.

Soil 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 "exemption" under "Part 3" of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation OR 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).

Soli 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 via the ALC Application Portal. Applications must be accompanied with information such as certificate of title, site proposal, photographs, etc. Be advised that there are fees associated with the ALC application process. 

The second step in the application process is to submit a "Soil Removal / Fill Deposit" 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 your application.

Environmental Considerations
Environmental criteria may apply to your application, consequently you are advised to refer to the following information:

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 communitybylaws@richmond.ca