An August 2012 Decision to Shut Down a Delta, BC Landowner’s Business Draws Attention to the Issues of Using Farmland as Storage

Share Article

While some farmers subsidize their income by offering vehicle storage, the owner of farmland located near the Washington State border in Delta BC was forced to shut down his vehicle storage business last month. Local government indicated that he was in violation of a law prohibiting non-farm use which is in place to protect agricultural growth. Delta BC storage provider Wes Tomlinson of Accent Moving & Storage sympathizes with the landowner but ultimately feels that those seeking safe and secure storage services will be better served by the action.

It is in the best interest of everyone to leave storage to reputable and professional storage providers. I don’t grow corn in my warehouse and they shouldn’t store RV’s in a barn.

A recent BC Supreme Court ruling reported by the Vancouver Sun - case number S-106955 Agricultural Land Commission and the Corporation of Delta versus Robert William Robertson - stated that Robertson, owner of R. Robertson Cattle Company LTD located on Delta BC farmland had to shut down his storage business. The reason? In essence, the business is not a storage company. However, it has been operating as one over the last decade, even though the sign still reads R. Robertson Cattle Company LTD. While Robertson has been operating under the adopted name of R & R Storage, it is the fact that it is being offered on farmland that is the cause of concern for local agricultural regulatory bodies. According to the BC Supreme Court, non-farm use on farmland is prohibited in order to protect and enhance the region’s agricultural industry. Unless the vehicles, boats, and RV’s stored on the land contribute to agricultural development, they must be removed. Robertson has argued that he is being singled out and that countless of other farmland owners are subsidizing their incomes by offering storage on their land.

Across the country, only a few days after the decision in Delta BC, local newspaper The Innisfil Scope reported that the city council in the town of Innisfil Ontario set a potential precedent by allowing the opposite. The council voted to allow a nearby marina to lease lower tax farmland for excess boat storage. Town staff was opposed, citing that it creates a precedent but the community heralded the efforts, likely supporting the income subsidy for farmers and lower storage costs. The community and the farmers however are not seeing the big picture. By providing a lower tax alternative to the likes of a marina, the city loses out on a significant portion of tax revenue, which can become an even bigger problem if larger less regulated storage providers in the area follow suit. In addition, even though many sympathize with farmers’ need to subsidize their income, doing so is certainly a disincentive for them to continue their focus on farming activities and growth initiatives which has a negative impact on the agricultural industry as a whole.

Other implications arise for both the moving and storage industry and its customers. By nature, farmland is not intended or outfitted for protective vehicle storage outside of farm equipment – especially with respect to automobiles, watercraft, and recreational vehicles which are very susceptible to the elements – natural (climate) or otherwise (property damage, theft, etc…). Professional storage providers, however, follow general industry standards and practices that exist to protect the possessions of the public that secure their services. Wes Tomlinson, owner of Accent Moving & Stoarge feels that farmland owners claiming that they can provide a viable storage option are essentially misleading the public who may not be as versed in what constitutes appropriate storage. Any governing bodies ignoring the misuse of farmland in this manner not only neglect to protect Agricultural Commission mandates, they inadvertently contribute to the practice of allowing farmland owners to offer their land for storage. All of this leaves the public and their possessions improperly protected while putting a dent in the business of professional storage providers.

Wes Tomlinson, owner and operator of Accent Moving & Storage in Delta BC comments “I sympathize with landowners seeking out income alternatives but to get into the storage game they not only open the public up to threats to their valuable household possessions by not offering proper protection, they open themselves up to legal liabilities (from damage to or theft of property) that they are not prepared for. It is in the best interest of everyone to leave storage to reputable and professional storage providers. I don’t grow corn in my warehouse and they shouldn’t store RV’s in a barn.” Wes continues to note that a proper storage facility will have climate controls, state-of-the-art security systems, and 24 hour on-site caretakers. Farmland has none of the above.

Anyone trusting a storage provider with their valuables, whether a vehicle or family heirloom, is advised by Wes Tomlinson to secure the services of a well-respected, professional storage company with facilities that have equipment, procedures, and policies in place to ensure that their goods are protected and maintain the condition that they were in upon arrival.

ABOUT Accent Moving & Storage

Accent Moving and Storage is proud to have served Vancouver BC’s Lower Mainland as a Delta moving and storage provider since 1998. We offer excellent service at fair rates, with experienced, courteous and careful employees. All trucks come fully equipped and ready to go for our customer, our most important asset. Our storage facilities are spacious and secure. We have serviced over 10,000 customers in the past 13 years and our percentage of complaints and claims is lower than 1%. Contact Accent Moving & Storage for your Delta BC moving and storage needs.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Wes Tomlinson
Follow us on
Visit website