Index of Policies and Bylaws

Rural Municipality of Three Lakes

Agricultural Land Use Objectives and Policies

The following objectives and policies address the agricultural concerns and issues.


A. To avoid land use conflict between new, non-agricultural uses which may be allowed in the RM and all current types of agricultural uses, which exist in the area.

B. To ensure that agriculture remains the primary land use in the balance of the municipality. To support agricultural operations, a maximum number of farm-related dwellings will be allowed on each farmstead. This will also be achieved by ensuring that the potential impact of all new or expanding non – agricultural land uses in the RM do not negatively affect existing agricultural uses. To allow new intensive agriculture developments (intensive livestock operations – ILOs) only at appropriate locations. This Objective will also include any expansion proposed for existing ILOs. Such uses must still be located to avoid or at least minimize land use conflict with nearby existing or potential uses (e.g. residential dwellings) which have already been fully approved by Council, and where required, by Provincial or Federal authorities.

C. Council supports the preservation of traditional agricultural operations and farming within the Municipality and to manage the long term development in this District in that context. Developments which are predominantly agricultural in nature or are supportive of the agricultural industry shall be encouraged throughout the RM. Other developments which are compatible with agricultural production and accessory uses shall be allowed by Council as either permitted or discretionary uses.


A. Council will protect and preserve those higher quality agricultural lands ( defined as Class 1, 2, 3 lands or combinations thereof), according to the Canada Land Inventory Soil Capability for Agriculture, which generally correspond to the upland areas in the municipality (see Appendix 1 for the CLI Map). Council shall also refer to Sections 10.2F, 10.3 and 10.4 in making decisions regarding new proposals for non-agricultural uses in agricultural areas.

B. The Right To Farm in the R. M. is hereby recognized to exist as a natural right. Most types of traditional agriculture will be Permitted Uses in the Zoning Bylaw, except for certain uses which may generate excessive odour or nuisance, including but not limited to, Intensive Livestock Operations. These types may be classed as Discretionary Uses, or prohibited at certain locations. The Right To Farm shall include all generally accepted agricultural practices including, but not limited to the spraying of herbicides and insecticides, subject to Provincial or Federal Regulations governing the use of approved chemicals for that purpose. As well, it is understood that the traditional agricultural activities associated with the Right To Farm may occur on holidays, Sundays, weekends, at night and in the day, and the noise, odours, fumes and dust that are caused by these activities are specifically permitted as part of this Right. Council does not intend to adopt Policies or Regulations affecting these activities. The only potential to involve the RM in any control of these activities and practices may occur if they conflict with the Agricultural Operations Act, or are clearly invalidated by a decision of the Agricultural Operations Review Board established by that Act. In either case, Council shall not be required to amend this Plan to affect or regulate any such activity or practice since they are not within the R.M.’s jurisdiction under The Act. Unless required by law to amend this Plan or the Zoning Bylaw to conform to Provincial Acts or Regulations, the RM shall not be required to enforce a decision of the Board through these land use Policies or Regulations.

C. Intensive Agricultural and Livestock Operations

C. 1 In general, Council will support the development of intensive agricultural (e.g. large-scale irrigation projects) and intensive livestock operations unless specific locational conflicts would be created due to flies, odour or other pollution problems not regulated by Federal or Provincial agencies.

C.2 In dealing with applications for new (or expansions of existing) Intensive Livestock Operations, conflict minimization/avoidance will be achieved primarily by using variable separation distances between such ILOs and surrounding development. Council shall also consider the necessity of regulating other impacts from such intensive uses (i.e. truck traffic effects, dust, ground and surface water effects etc.) as part of the application process.

C.3 Intensive agricultural operations and intensive livestock operations will be permitted subject to the discretion of Council in accordance with this Section and other relevant policies in this OCP. Any expansion of an existing operation for a greater number of animal units, or any change in an operation which in Council’s opinion substantially alters the species of animal, shall require a new discretionary approval for the proposed change or expansion.

C.4 To minimize conflict between proposed intensive livestock operations and surrounding development or vice versa, the following separation distances shall be adhered to unless altered by Council as a condition of a permitted or discretionary use permit where authorized by the Zoning Bylaw. Council may approve a lesser separation of up to 10% variance from the relevant separation shown in Table 1 where the applicant submits a copy of a signed agreement between the operator of the ILO and the owner of the development, hamlet board or urban Council, agreeing to such lesser separation. Such agreements between an operator and an owner of another development must contain the provision that the parties to the agreement will consent to have that agreement as an interest on the titles of all affected land owned by both parties. Where such agreements are made, Council shall also be a party to the agreement and may use Section 215 of the Act, to file the interest agreement to the title of the affected lands.

(Table 1)
Policies for Minimum ILO Separation Distances*
Residence, tourist accommodation, public well 800m (0.5 mile) 2400m (1.5 miles) 2400m
Multi-parcel Residential Lots, Organised Hamlet or Village with a population less than 100, campground, commercial or industrial use 800 m 2400 m 2400 m
Village with a population of 100 or more 1600m (1 mile) 2400 m 2400 m

Distances are measured between actual livestock facilities (barns and corrals) and building development.

* refer to Section 5.4 of the Zoning Bylaw for the minimum number of Animal Units (AU) specified for an ILO (based on the type of Animal Units which it contains), and clarification of the difference between an ILO and a grazing operation with temporary winter confinement.

C.5 The following are additional actions which Council may use in dealing with applications for new ILOs.

• Council may require the applicant to pay for the public advertisement of a proposal that will result in an intensive livestock operation and for the cost of a public hearing or information session on the proposal.
• Council may require an applicant to demonstrate that the water supply is sufficient for the development and the supply for neighbouring developments will not be adversely affected by the proposed operation.
• Crop land or improved pasture may be used for the incorporation of wastes from an intensive livestock operation by spreading of manure, and such manure shall be incorporated into the soil within 24 hours of spreading, unless such incorporation is prevented by adverse weather conditions, in which case incorporation shall take place as soon as practical thereafter.
• Council may require or allow an applicant to utilize manure injection into the soil or other technology rather than conventional stockpiling and spreading. Council may consult the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) regarding the suitability of such technology.
• Council may require that the ILO operator notify the RM whenever any change is proposed in location of the areas for manure application required by MoA or Council as part of an earlier approval issued to the operator by either approval party. Council may consult MoA regarding the suitability of such new area for the expected manure type and volume etc. No new area may be used for ILO manure application until a Discretionary Use Permit authorising the change in use has been issued by Council.

D. Council will encourage intensive livestock operators to engage in good land stewardship.

E. Existing agricultural land uses and developments shall be deemed conforming by Council, and shall be recognized within the Zoning Bylaw.

F. Council shall discourage the subdivisions and fragmentation of agricultural land into small uneconomical units for non-farm developments.

G. To maintain and support agricultural production Council will permit two (2) farm residences, on a Farmstead (as defined in the Zoning Bylaw), and at Council’s discretion, up to one (1) additional farm residence per Quarter Section or Equivalent (as defined in the Zoning Bylaw).

H. Council shall permit the clearing of land for the purpose of agricultural production except in environmentally sensitive areas, hazard lands or heritage sensitive areas, Council shall consult with the appropriate senior levels of government responsible for these sensitive lands prior to reviewing a land clearing proposal.

I. Agricultural land use objectives and policies may be implemented through such instruments as the Zoning Bylaw, subdivision control procedures, the issuance of development and building permits; and through policies which:

a) protect and preserve lands most suitable for agricultural production;
b) discourage the subdivision of agricultural land into small uneconomical units for non-farm developments;
c) permit land clearing for agricultural purposes; and
d) permit intensive livestock operations.

J. Any conflict between an agricultural use and another use shall be resolved in favour of the agricultural use, unless in Council’s opinion, their decision would threaten “the health, safety and general welfare of the inhabitants of the municipality”, as outlined in Section 66 of the Act.

For country residential uses proposed in the agricultural area, a maximum of 3 (consisting of 2 rectangular, and 1 isolated, irregular, non-rectangular) subdivisions may be allowed at Council’s discretion per Quarter Section or Equivalent. Further policies affecting such subdivisions are contained in Part 8 of this Plan.

The foregoing Policies will also be considered in relation to SPI No. 6.1 (Agriculture and Value-Added Agribusinesses), 6.9 (Recreation and Tourism) and 6.10 (Residential Development).

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