B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture started a consultation period Thursday regarding recent changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve and how farmers could be better supported.

The first and only public meeting on Vancouver Island was held today north of Courtenay.

Nearly 120 people turned out.

Many were upset by the government’s changes, earlier this year, in how agricultural land can be used.

The most prevalent topic raised was the building of secondary homes on farmland.

A Quadra Island resident says the changes caused him to build a larger home to accommodate his parents, at a much greater cost, instead of two separate ones.

“I would estimate that I spent 150 to 200,000 dollars extra over and above original budget to accommodate that building construction and just finding out today that they’ve reversed those rules and that wasn’t necessary. That’s actually fairly devastating because we’re $200,000 over budget,” said Brent McConnell.

If you can’t attend a meeting, you can submit feedback in an online questionnaire until Nov. 15.

Kendall Hanson