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New Kelowna Sikh temple looking to grow food for the needy

Facebook/Gurdwara Guru Amardas Sikh Society wants to relocate to a larger site that will have an agricultural component.
Facebook/Gurdwara Guru Amardas Sikh Society wants to relocate to a larger site that will have an agricultural component.
Image Credit: Google Maps

A relocated and expanded Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, will include gardens to feed the needy and train people going through difficult times.

The Gurdwara Guru Amardas Sikh Society has applied to the City of Kelowna to rezone land near Benvoulin and KLO roads to allow for a larger facility.

“The existing location at 220 Davie Road has become too small to serve our Sikh community,” states a report by Urban Matters that accompanies the application. “With recent growth of the community, the society is unable to meet with societal demands, and the Sikh community has outgrown its current location.”

This is not to be confused with the Okanagan Sikh Temple on Rutland Road.

The plan, if approved, is to move from its 0.69 acre site to a 2.25 acre parcel at 2809 Benvoulin Road.

“Appropriate parking and creation of ample green spaces are provided with gardens leading to the Gurdwara including seating areas, a rivered water feature and a small plaza at the flagpole,” the application says.

The plan is to use almost 6,500 square feet for fruit trees and raised garden beds for growing vegetables.

The application points out that the Sikh community has strong ties to agriculture and farms more than 2,000 acres of land in Kelowna.

“The Sikh society will partner with ‘Bridges to New Life’ and donate vegetables to their organization,” the application says. “Bridge Youth and Family Services will be using some of the garden and growing spaces for a horticultural therapy component of their programming.”

Bridges works “with young people in our community who are the most marginalized, street entrenched and disenfranchised,” as well as providing recovery and addictions programs, its website says.

The Sikh society committed to donate 13,000 pounds of fruit to the community as well.

“The society hopes to partner with local Kelowna Food Bank and Interior Health branches, where efforts can be targeted to those families that are low income and may not have access to nutritional food,” the application says.

They will also offer an outdoor washroom and showers “provided for anyone in Kelowna who wants to access a free warm shower, no questions asked,” it says.

For the Sikh community itself, the new Gurdwara will provide ample parking so people don’t have to clog neighbouring streets. It will have room not only for its weekly congregations but for weddings and other events as well.

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