Lake Country orchardist not pleased competitor's complaint forced closure of fruit stand | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Alan Gatzke
October 16, 2020 - 10:12 AM

A Lake Country orchardist is questioning the nature of a complaint that led to the dismantling of his fruit stand on Highway 97 over a rezoning issue.

Alan Gatzke, owner of Gatzke Orchards, was sent a letter from the District of Lake Country, Oct. 5, saying his apple stand must be dismantled since the current residential zoning on the property does not permit his retail sales at the site on Highway 97 in the Winfield area. He has sold apples at that location for the last seven to eight years.

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

The complainant asked the district to check if Gatzke’s stand had a business licence, as “the complainant cannot compete with what the cost the Gatzke's are selling their apples for and it is taking away all of their customers,” according to an email from the district sent to Gatzke, which adds that the complainant is upset because they spent a lot of money for a legal fruit stand.

Gatzke takes issue with that argument and responded to the district saying the complaint should be dismissed if that’s the main point, as he sells apples for $5 a box, or roughly 50 cents per pound. He said via email other Lake Country fruit stands and the one next to the Kelowna International Airport are also selling apples for the same price.

“Any farmer worth their salt can make a very good living selling apples at 50 cents per pound. The cry-baby style complaint wants to either price fix and rip off the public or is buying apples to resell or has a personal grudge toward me,” he said in a response to the District.

He plans to curb his apple selling as a result of the incident, he said in a previous interview with iNFOnews.

As of Wednesday morning, Oct. 14, 41 emails and letters have been received addressed to Lake Country mayor and council, a majority in support of the fruit stand.

In the letter originally sent to Gatzke, the District outlined a possible solution to the problem, Gatzke could apply for a temporary use permit which would also require council to approve a business licence.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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