Update – September 2006 Megan Halstead

At this time, I am planning on returning to the Farm to live with my partner Chris Hancock (CSH), not to be confused with Chris Halstead (CEH), my sister. We are hoping to make the move when I finish my degree. We need to find a way of securing the house and farmland, without taking on an enormous dept – in the last 3 years land prices have begun to skyrocket.

When my dad bought the Farm, it was 4 lots, but he legally amalgamated the 4 lots to reduce his taxes. Up until now, we had been told that the title (legal ownership document) was for a single farm, made up of the 4 lot numbers (PIDs). With one title, there can only be one house, until the farming intensity is such that onsite farm-worker housing can be justified to the regional district planners.

Now, we have learned that this is not true- after all that there are in fact 4 titles, one for each parcel! The amalgamation can be dissolved very simply. This means that as an alternative to subdivision, we can apply for a line adjustment though the ministry of highways, as long as the number of plots stays the same. We can have 4 houses! A line adjustment is favourable to staying as is because the good soils are laid out in the centre of the land, with forest surrounding them. If we sold any plot with the current layout, we would loose some of the arable land, and potentially reduce farm viability.

You may recall that as it is, we (my 3 sibs and mum) jointly own the farm as part of the “estate”, so we share the ownership of the estate, and the title to the land is owned by the estate. So, we have a “tenants in common” ownership. The time has come that 2 of my siblings want to sell, and my mum is retired, and will need to sell some of it sooner or later for retirement income. I am the stick in the mud that is stopping the whole thing from being sold, so we have been looking into ways to subdivide off and sell some land in order to buy out the others from the estate. As tenants in common we could sell our %age ownership, but this is not an ideal option financially.

CSH and I would like to farm the Farm, but we can’t afford to buy out all the others at a fair price. My sister Shani doesn’t want to sell, and my mum wants to help make our dream possible, but will need to have some income eventually. We have to decide how best to draw the lines, and this depends a lot on if we will create 2 farms and sell one as a farm, or sell residentially oriented plots and take on the whole Farm. The Farm is in the ALR, so the minimum lot size should be 10ha (~20acres) but with line adjustment we can bypass the ALC so lots can be smaller!

This fall we will have a family meeting to determine what to do.