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How to lease crown land in ontario

how to lease crown land in ontario

Land Cost in BC: The Primary Barrier To Homesteading

Post by: Jack Brixton,

on Sep 16, 2010 16:42:44

(This is my first post here, so please forgive me if I break some unspoken rules! I apologize ahead of time if this comes off as a somewhat of a ramble, it's a conundrum that has nagged at me for some time.)

I’ve been researching the Permaculture, Homesteading, and off-grid movement extensively over the past 3 years, as it seems to present the most idyllic form of semi-retirement possible. One builds their own house for below-market costs, one grows their own food and sells the surplus to make a profit, all very well and good!

The issue is, for someone who is 20 years old in an economy which is doing its utmost to make it clear that my generation will never reap the rewards that the previous few have, the idea of finding a nice parcel of land to settle down on before you are 60 is quite unrealistic.

The primary issue is that here in BC and the PNW in general, land is exorbitantly expensive. This isn’t the 1970’s anymore, there is no longer a homesteading act to allow you to improve and claim crown land. Additionally, the days of buying an island in the Straight of Georgia / San Juan's for $7K and a whistle are long over.

Why is this? Well, to be honest I’m not sure. If I look south of the border, I can find parcels of up to 200 acres of nice farmland with a mix of forest for about $180K ( ). Expensive, but not radically so when you consider that there are no parcels available between 20 and 100 acres anywhere in the habitable regions of British Columbia. I’ve spent 3 years stalking the MLS and Landquest Realty, I should know. Once you broach the 100 acre mark you are looking at well over $700K, more realistically above $1M. Exceedingly unrealistic for 1 or 2 families to ever purchase.

The situation arises, I believe, in direct relation to something I mentioned earlier: The termination of BC’s “Homesteading Act” (Not the official name), in the 1970’s. As a result of this, the vast (>85) majority of the province is tied up in crown land that is leased off as lumber licenses. Now, this tactic may have made sense 20 years ago before the complete collapse of the lumber industry in this province, but does it really hold water today when the few mills left are struggling to stay afloat?  Of course, the past decades worth of subdividing out the Islands and coastal real estate into grossly expensive vacation retreats has not helped things ($1.1M for 5 acres in the Cowichan, Gambier Island, or Texada, what).

To stop digressing, the core of the situation boils down to there simply not being enough land to go around in the parts of BC that get more than 4 months of sun a year, and the land that IS around being subdivided into smaller and highly expensive vacation retreats. As a result, I doubt I’ll be able to ever afford to buy 10 or 20 acres in this province (Averaging $300-440K when they appear on market). Sure, you could go to Lasqueti, but the affordable parcels that have been on the market for the past few years are some of the saddest, rockiest, most un-sustainable places I’ve ever seen.

Thus, what does one do?

- Find 200 people to split 200

acres in a commune because that’s the only way you could possibly afford that much acreage? Might as well just move to a small town if that’s your solution.

- Petition the province to reinstate the Homestead Act and hope you can grab a nice chunk before someone else? Given how often they sell crown land for less than $15M to non-corporations, you might as well engineer a flying pig.

- Move to PNW-US where the land is actually sanely priced in comparison? Dual-citizenship takes decades, and the USA is not looking particularly healthy as a country, to be honest.

For those who prefer to skip to the bottom: Considering BC has a population of 4M people and is nearly 1 Billion Square Kilometers in size, land is far too expensive to be sane.

Post by: Keith BC,

on Sep 16, 2010 17:27:23

the situation boils down to there simply not being enough land to go around

That about sums it up. The demand is kept high by all the Albertans buying up retirement property.

I have to confess that I did what many of them do: I paid mortgage payments for years in the city and then cashed out the city house for some land. Even then, I just barely made it. There's no quick fix for a young person. Ya gotta pay your dues.

Post by: Jack Brixton,

on Sep 16, 2010 17:35:20

KeithBC wrote:

I have to confess that I did what many of them do: I paid mortgage payments for years in the city and then cashed out the city house for some land.  Even then, I just barely made it.  There's no quick fix for a young person.  Ya gotta pay your dues.

Aye, it wouldn't be very fair if there was a quick fix, either. I'm considering the mortgage route, but taking out a mortgage for a good half million is a little bit untenable sadly. Can't even cash out a city house because I'd be paying as much for a house here as the land I want out there!

I suppose the real point of my ramble was this: Radical societal changes, such as a switch to a more sustainable way of living through permaculture and eco-villiages are inherently driven by adopters from the younger generation as they are more open to change.

In this case, however, the cost of entry is so high that only those who inherit land or large sums of money, or professionals in their late 40's can possibly afford to decide to go out and start a permacultural homestead. The values of our society, however, ensure that they are far more likely to simply build a retirement log cabin or vacation mansion on the land instead.

Thus we have a paradigm: Those who can afford to do it are unlikely to do so, and those who are mostly likely to lead to widespread societal adoption are barred by sheer cost and end up resigning themselves to the rat race.

End result: is permaculture as a way of life ever to drastically catch on in the way it desperately needs to in order to ensure our long-term survival? Unlikely on the scale of actual homesteads and eco-villiages, for the reasons already listed. Leaving us with the altogether different beast of urban permaculture as the only viable alternative in both the short and long term.

Post by: John Rushton,

on Sep 16, 2010 22:08:59

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