Red Deer County supports housing to help the family farm

Allowing more residences on rural properties helps lure young people back to the farm

A Red Deer County initiative making it easier to build additional homes on rural properties is paying off, believes the mayor.

Jim Wood said the last time the county overhauled its Municipal Development Plan council introduced changes to housing rules to promote more rural growth.

“It was definitely something that was really important,” said Wood on Tuesday.

Allowing extra dwelling gives people an opportunity to keep family close.

“One good way to have a good community and family and to have it work well is to be able to have the parents stay close to their children and not have to go to an old folks home too early.”

Besides allowing rural residents to retire to their own properties while making room for the next generation, providing additional housing helps to lure young adults back to the family farm, he said.

All rural areas of Canada have seen growing numbers of young people move off the family farm to find jobs elsewhere. That rural brain drain has led to a steady increase in the average age of farmers who remain on the land.

Allowing second and third homes on family farms makes it easier for another generation to get started and to ensure farming thrives in the county, he said, adding it also adds to the county’s tax base and helps support local business.

A young farmer offered a case in point at Tuesday’s municipal planning commission, which was considering his application for a secondary farm dwelling.

“I saw this big smile when (approval) was unanimous and he had the ability to have his residence on the farm,” said the mayor.

Another benefit of keeping more family members together on the farm is it means there are more eyes looking out for crime. Rural crime has been a huge issue in all of rural Alberta.

“There’s nothing more important than having someone close to watch over things,” he said.

The approach appears to be working. Several applications for secondary dwellings, third homes or accessory buildings with a garden suite were approved by the county’s municipal planning commission.

Secondary dwellings and garden suites were not allowed under the previous Municipal Development Plan.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Photos: Hundreds attend Red Deer Lights the Night

Cold weather didn’t stop people from enjoying holiday festivities

Backlog of irregular asylum claims has ballooned to over 28,000

OTTAWA — The backlog of asylum claims from irregular migrants awaiting a… Continue reading

Canada Post asks for halt to international shipments as parcel backlog grows

OTTAWA — Canada Post has asked its international partners to halt mail… Continue reading

Killer wildfire, bar shooting draw Trump to California

WASHINGTON — The killer wildfire in Northern California and the recent country-music… Continue reading

Trump visits as California struggles to locate 1,000 people

PARADISE, Calif. — President Donald Trump heads to Northern California on Saturday… Continue reading

UK leader fights back against critics amid Brexit upheaval

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May fought back against critics of… Continue reading

Workers at Quebec-run liquor stores begin 3-day strike, shutting down most outlets

MONTREAL — A labour dispute that began with stickers on store windows… Continue reading

Trump’s heated rhetoric not in line with U.S. actions: American senators

HALIFAX — Two outspoken U.S. senators — one Republican and one Democrat… Continue reading

B.C. government to bring lower transgender surgery to the province

VANCOUVER — Gwen Haworth says she always knew her gender identity, even… Continue reading

Action needed to reverse Canada’s wildlife decline, conservationists say

MONTREAL — Canada may be known for its wide-open spaces and wildlife,… Continue reading

Vancouver lawyer who prosecuted Khmer Rouge leaders welcomes genocide verdict

OTTAWA — A Vancouver lawyer who helped prosecute two of the Khmer… Continue reading

Trade war between U.S., China shows no sign of abating amid tough talk at APEC

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — Leaders from the world’s two biggest… Continue reading

Most Read