|Update 3 November: The RDOS has received a detailed legal review of this situation and has concluded that a motocross track DOES violate the RDOS's existing AG3 zoning bylaw. The owner has been advised of this.|
The RDOS has received numerous complaints about the construction of a motocross track on Agricultural Land Reserve farmland in Meadow Valley.
The RDOS generally has very limited control over what people do on their own land. However, there are two existing bylaws that are relevant in this situation and a new bylaw that will be relevant in the future:
- Noise: Area F has a noise bylaw (see here). It is not a very good bylaw in my view--very difficult to interpret. In practice enforcement seems to be most effective after hours. Also, machinery on ALR land is a bit of a grey area.
- Land use: The RDOS does impose some restrictions on land use, as does the act governing the ALR. For example, a non-farm commercial operation of any type is not permitted. However, there is nothing in the land use bylaws to prevent people from burning around their own property on motorbikes. "Their own property" part of this statement implies a restriction to the people who live on the property. A large number of non-residents using the track moves it into the realm of a commercial operation. This would be prohibited.
- Environmentally Sensitive land: The RDOS has recently undertaken the development of an Environmental Sensitive Development Permit bylaw (see here). The purpose of the bylaw is to create constraints on the disturbance of land considered "environmentally sensitive". It is precisely situations such as this that led the RDOS to propose an additional layer of red tape. However, this bylaw is still in the development stage and has not yet been enacted. As such, it has no bearing on this issue.
The bottom line is this: the development of a motorcross track in Meadow Valley is not, as it now stands, a violation of any RDOS bylaw. If it turns out to be a commercial operation or if the user base extends beyond immediate friends and family (so that its intensity of usage is similar to that of a commercial operation) then the RDOS and ALC will become involved.