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Kelowna animal sanctuary sells property; plans to move out of city

Arion Therapeutic Farm will be moving out of Kelowna in April.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Arion Therapeutic Farm
December 30, 2020 - 12:15 PM

After taking a huge financial hit this year due to COVID-19, Kelowna’s Arion Therapeutic Farm has found a buyer for its property and will be moving out of the city.

The farm was established in 2009 as a therapeutic riding facility, which evolved over time into an animal sanctuary open to the public, according to the farm’s website. It’s currently located at 2457 Saucier Rd. in Kelowna.

The main hit during the COVID-19 period was a decline in overall visitors and the farm was unable to set up an Airbnb due to insurance reasons, said Heather Henderson, founder and director of the farm.

In March and April, they had incredibly busy months, but the drop in visitors has meant the farm has become unsustainable. Pursuing adopt-a-horse programs and membership options also failed, she said.

READ MORE: Kelowna animal sanctuary selling property after suffering from COVID-19 hit 

They also looking at offering a camping option, but that currently isn’t allowed in the City of Kelowna.

“This property is not matching our needs anymore in order to be viable,” she said.

Their main customers have been from the Lower Mainland, but they haven't had as much support from locals.

They need a location that will allow them to expand more into the agro-tourism sector, she said. The current location has sold and they now will be moving out in April 2021, but have yet to find a property to move to.

“Our new adventure might look a little different, but we still think it’s an important thing that we do and enjoy doing,” Henderson said.

She hopes to expand the farm into a destination, offering visitors longer stays and camping options.

They hope to find a property with a barn, hayfield, paddocks, fencing and water for the sanctuary’s 35 animals and a place for the caretakers.

“We need to be able to move into something, we can’t build a barn and fencing in the middle of winter,” she said.

Ideally it would be located close to town.

The farm will remain open at its current location until March.

"The amazing ride we had here can't be minimized, we are all eternally grateful for amazing experiences (and) life changing moments."

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