Kelowna model aircraft club wins appeal of ruling that grounded planes

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KELOWNA, B.C. - A model plane club in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley has won the right to continue flying from a grassy airstrip on agricultural land.

Last October, a judge ruled members of the Kelowna Ogopogo Radio Controllers Association were breaking a municipal bylaw by flying their radio-controlled planes from agricultural-zoned land.

The judge in that case ruled a zoning exemption that allowed unpaved airstrips and helicopter landing pads on farmland wasn't meant to include model aircraft.

But three judges from the B.C. Court of Appeal have overturned that judgment, concluding the club's activities are, in fact, permitted under the unpaved-airstrip exemption in the bylaw.

The unanimous Appeal Court decision says there is no evidence the club's activities are disturbing the farmland.

The District of Lake Country argued the bylaw was intended to allow airstrips on farmland to be used only for agricultural purposes.

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