Lake Country orchardist ’not happy’ with district's response to zoning issue | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lake Country orchardist ’not happy’ with district's response to zoning issue

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Alan Gatzke
October 22, 2020 - 5:37 PM

A Lake Country orchardist is still unimpressed by the district’s decision to temporarily allow him to operate his apple stand along Highway 97 while it researches ways to amend a zoning bylaw.

Alan Gatzke has operated an apple stand at his location along Highway 97 in Winfield for the last seven to eight years without any problems. Recently, a complaint was made to the District of Lake Country questioning the zoning on the property, which is currently zoned as rural residential, as well as the price of Gatzke’s apples.

Gatzke was served a letter from bylaw services earlier this month, forcing him to dismantle the fruit stand.

READ MORE: Lake Country orchardist not pleased competitor's complaint forced closure of fruit stand

At its meeting Oct. 20, councillors decided to forego any enforcement of the zoning regulations until the district can amend the zoning for permitted use on the property, said Mayor James Baker.

“Certainly we want to support agriculture in every way and he will be able to work there, as it is,” Baker said. ‘He can sell his apples on the side of the road and he should be able to continue to do so once we get the zoning change.”

But that's not good enough for Gatzke.

“I’m not happy. They said I can go back and sell apples and I can set up the tent, but only because council put a non-enforcement direction to staff. The reason I’m not happy is because they are continuing to say that I’m in contravention of the zoning bylaw,” Gatzke said.

Gatzke continued that the district will be reviewing the zoning bylaw for a text amendment to allow for agriculture, but the point he wants to make is that the ability to do the business of farming is a right by the property owner which is unextinguished by the lease or sale of a property. He currently leases the land from the property owner.

READ MORE: One complaint forces Lake Country orchardist to dismantle fruit stand

The owners have used that property as a farm since before the zoning bylaw existed in the district, he said.

He would rather see the district rescind the initial bylaw letter so he doesn’t have to operate under a contravention.

“I’m saying the zoning bylaw doesn’t apply, it’s the right of the property owner,” Gatzke said.

Gatzke has decided to turn the apples he’s picked into apple juice for the season.

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