CSRD does not support Walmart trailer yard on agricultural land

Monday, June 22, 2020

An application from Walmart Canada to allow a non-farm use on agricultural property in Malakwa did not earn the approval of a majority of Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Directors.

As part of the process for a non-farm use application for land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the CSRD is asked to provide a recommendation to the Agricultural Land Commission.

The Agricultural Land Commission makes the final decision about whether the application will be approved.

Walmart Canada is attempting to develop a trailer storage and transfer yard on property at 3785 Malakwa Road, adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway. This proposal would create a marshalling area for approximately 50 trailers used to transport goods from Vancouver to Calgary.

CSRD staff recommended the Agricultural Land Commission deny Walmart's application because it is not considered an appropriate use for agricultural land, the property is located in a floodplain and there are other lands without ALR designation suitable for this proposal along the Trans-Canada Highway corridor.

There were also concerns about the amount of fill that would have been required on the property, which would have be in excess of 1,000 dump-truck loads. Potential impacts on other nearby agricultural lands and groundwater in the area were also considered as factors.

While the majority of Directors supported staff's position, Directors Terry Rysz and Chad Eliason disagreed. Rysz, who represents the District of Sicamous on the CSRD Board, cited concerns about limiting economic growth as a factor.

Electoral Area E Director Rhona Martin declared a conflict of interest in the matter, as she owns a neighbouring property. She did not participate in the discussion or vote on the recommendation.

The CSRD's recommendation will now be submitted to the Agricultural Land Commission for review before a decision is made.

Photo: An aerial view of the property in Malakwa which is the subject of an application for the property to be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

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