The Bennett family wants to build a multi-million-dollar residential and commercial development on Springfield Road almost directly across from its Orchard Plaza.
The biggest problem: the 24.35 hectares is in the agricultural land reserve.
So McIntosh Properties Ltd. has proposed to the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission that it would:
- Place 21.4 hectares of farmland in Oyama into the ALR;
- Spend $1.75 million an agricultural improvements to existing ALR farmlands throughout the Okanagan;
- Relocate 15,000 cubic metres of topsoil to be removed from the Springfield Road property to an agricultural property in southeast Kelowna at a cost of $335,000.
The Kelowna company proposes to create a 10-hectare "greenfield" development of 500 residences with an additional 200,000 square feet of commercial and office space. The residential component would involve clusters of four-and six-storey rental apartments "in an open, pedestrian-friendly, phased project."
The one-storey commercial area would be modelled after the Village at Park Royal shopping centre in North Vancouver. The offices would be located in one building of six to
The comprehensive report prepared by McIntosh "reflects significant effort and deliberation," according to Todd Cashin, manager of subdivision, agriculture and environment, in a report to go to city council at
1:30 p.m. today. Council support is considered crucial to get serious land commission consideration.
However, councillors will also receive numerous letters of opposition and concern from neighbours at today's meeting.
Heather Deegan, Interior Health's manager of population health services, expressed concern "in the interest of food security and the ability of our citizens to access nutritious and safe food that supports sustainable food systems and community self-reliance."
She suggested council consider: the applicant has not indicated a pressing need for its residential and commercial development; the agricultural capability of the (unused) Springfield Road farmland which abuts productive farmland; community food security is threatened by overall erosion of agricultural land, both locally and across the province; and attempts should be made to protect and preserve any land that has the potential for agricultural production so that there is no net loss to the agricultural capacity of this community, region or province.
The Okanagan contains some of B.C.'s prime agricultural land, she added. "Even the poorest land in this region is of higher quality than agricultural land in other areas of the province."
And once developed, farmland can never be adequately recovered or restored for agricultural purposes, she noted.