September 24, 2013 - 11:23 AM
KELOWNA – A stretch of agricultural land south of Springfield Road will soon be sprouting new office buildings and shops.
The plan to exclude nearly ten acres of land between Spall and Cooper Road from the Agricultural Land Reserve was drafted fifteen years ago, but yesterday City Council gave their final approval.
Their decision paves the way for a future mixed-use development that could see up to 500 units on the land owned by McIntosh Properties.
Mayor Walter Gray noted the importance of the area to the health of Kelowna's urban centre as well as adding more space for rental housing, of which the city will need 300 new units per year.
While most councillors embraced the exclusion, Coun. Mohini Singh withheld her support.
After receiving multiple letters from farmers in the adjacent areas, Singh explained the development would devastate their farming.
Coun. Basran agreed farmland is also valuable to consumers who increasingly enjoy fresh locally grown food, but the need for urban densification in place of sprawl takes priority, he says.
It's not a total loss for agriculture.
In exchange for the exclusion the applicant is offering over 20 hectares of arable land in the Regional District of the North Okanagan. They would also relocate the land's topsoil to other remediation projects in the city and contribute $1,750,000 to Okanagan farms and cherry orchards.
Once getting the green light from the Agricultural Land Commission the applicant can start work developing the greenfield.
Image Credit: City of Kelowna
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013