January 20, 2016 - 7:00 PM
KELOWNA - The issue of RV lots on Kelowna farmland has been so contentious, one councillor suggested this week they should be banned entirely.
Coun. Brad Sieben said the regulatory burden on the city and other problems caused by allowing tourist accommodation makes him wonder if it's worth the effort and expense to allow farmers and orchardists that particular form of supplementary income.
“The city also has city has the ability to not allow them and I think that’s something we should consider,” Sieben said Monday.
The City was asked by the Ministry of Agriculture for recommendations on the issue as it considers a provincial bylaw standard for agri-tourism, accommodation and farm retail sales that might just take the discretion away from municipalities.
Kelowna has 15 RV parks of varying sizes on agricultural land. Just last week, in a narrow vote, council gave preliminary approval for a 10-site RV park on property on KLO Road. That application will go to a public hearing near the end of the month.
While some are models of compliance with the bylaw that allows them, council heard from rural manager Todd Cashin that others are constant enforcement problems for the city’s bylaw officers, who must ensure RVs don't stay for more than a month at a time and that the RV park operates only in season.
Cashin and staff recommended comments be added to those already forwarded to the agriculture ministry, including a call for additional enforcement help, a review of farm fees and taxes plus an overall review of the role and function of the Agricultural Land Reserve itself.
City staff will meet with the new CEO of the Agricultural Land Commission Kim Grout Feb. 2, ahead of a second meeting Feb. 15 where Kelowna city councillors will have a chance to discuss their concerns with Grout and chairman Frank Leonard during a public meeting.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016