UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rural land use conflicts : a case study of Central Saanich Olsen, Tracy Louise


Land use conflict in the rural urban fringe is a problem for Canadian agriculture, as well as for local governments responsible for land use controls. Development of non-agricultural uses adjacent to farms may lead to limitations on the productive capacity of farming operations, as well as increasing the danger of further irreversible conversion of land with good agricultural capability. At the same time it must be recognized that the effects of some common agricultural practices on suburban land uses constitute the sort of nuisance that zoning is intended to prevent. It is clear from the literature and common sense, and confirmed in a case study analysis of Central Saanich, B.C., that the traditional land use controls often do not work effectively in these situations. Because each land use conflict of this type is specific to a particular site and involves local farming practices, the local level of government is most familiar with the issues and thus may be in the best position to exercise appropriate controls. Local governments may, however, choose to ignore their responsibility or may for fiscal reasons prefer to see non-agriculrural development of the community. Traditional land use controls have not been effective in preventing rural land use conflicts, for often the problem has reached a critical level in the community or else a crisis situation demanding an immediate response develops before any action is taken. By this time, many of the potential land use conflicts are actually in existence. However, failure to plan, delay in responding to rural land use conflicts, and conflicting interests in non-agricultural land use are not the only reasons that local government has difficulty in coping with the problem. Land use control techniques suitable for application to this problem have inherent inadequacies and weaknesses or are not acceptable to agricultural producers. Analysis of Central Saanich shows that all of these factors led the Council to consider "Green Zoning". However, there is reason to believe that this form of zoning, including limitations placed on operation of a farm unit, would also prove disappointing. Moreover the problem is too intricate and pervasive to be handled entirely by local government. It is therefore up to the senior governments to facilitate local management of the problem and to offer assistance and guidance. If a local government refuses to address the problem of rural land use conflicts, then more coercive measures may have to be taken by a senior government. In addition to the complementary use of certain land use control mechanisms, there is also the need for more comprehensive programmes which include non-regulatory measures in addition to the regulatory ones. These include increased citizen participation, greater public and political support, and an increased awareness of the impacts that rural land use conflicts are having on Canada's agricultural base.

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