Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Kevin Hanna

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


In North America, farmland is commonly targeted as the site of urbanization, because it is often the most easy to develop. British Columbia has been no exception. But British Columbia is unique in North American planning because it has imposed a comprehensive agricultural land reserve (ALR), now over thirty years old, to respond to agricultural land loss. Such an instrument can have important implications for land-use planning and for planning practice. This research documents some of the impacts of the ALR on planning while focusing on the Central Okanagan Valley as a case study region. The lessons of the Okanagan overall have important implications for other parts of B.C., and for agricultural land preservation in other jurisdictions. In particular, the study analyzes how the ALR has impacted housing in terms of innovation, design and density, and the larger impacts of the ALR on growth management. The research considers why the ALR has had such longevity, and considers the implications of recent changes to the ALR and agricultural land commission (ALC) framework. The research is based on extensive interviews, an analysis of ALR data and regional and local planning documents. Results suggest that broadening the scope of the ALR to more actively address issues of farmer preservation and economic viability will enhance the cooperation of stakeholders and efficacy of the Reserve. The recent delegation of select powers to local governments is generally unsupported, and may compromise the integrity of the ALR. The lure of increased revenues from agricultural land conversion could prove too overwhelming for local governments, and weaken the ALR in the long-term.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season