July 08, 2015 - 9:00 PM
PENTICTON - A 10-acre parcel of city owned property at 630 Munson Mountain Rd. received a failing grade for farmland use, allowing Penticton City Council to move forward in its quest to locate a BMX track and other cycling facilities there.
Public Works Manager Len Robson says results of a recently commissioned agrologist’s report revealed only 3.25 acres of the 10 acres was suitable for agriculture in its present state. Much of the property contains fill, including asphalt and other contaminants, in addition to containing soils high in pH and surface concentrations of carbonates.
Robson said use of the property as a BMX park was considered to be a “low risk use” that would have minimal affect on neighbouring agricultural properties.
Coun. Andre Martin reminded council it was 10 years ago this year the property was acquired by the city to build baseball diamonds on. Since then, an off and on battle has waged between residents who feel the land has agricultural potential versus those wishing to develop recreational facilities.
Earlier this year, the Penticton BMX Club approached the city with a request for expansion or relocation of their track. Support for the Munson Mountain location was granted, then rescinded by the Agricultural Committee, who later rescinded their support, and on May 19 council received notice the Agricultural Land Commission required a new, non-farm use application. Council requested an agrologist’s report on the land following a contentious council meeting that saw several local landowners opposed to the proposal.
Council will proceed to submit a new application to the Agricultural Land Commission to allow a BMX track, mountain bike skills park and other complimentary cycling uses on the property. If successful, the matter will go to public hearing. If the commission turns down the application, the proposal will be abandoned.
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