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Agriculture land set aside for future rec site

Kelowna has convinced its agricultural advisory committee (AAC) to support its proposal to use agricultural land in Glenmore for future recreational purposes.

And it did so by agreeing to address agricultural land issues in Glenmore and other areas of the city.

According to Terry Barton, manager of parks and public places for the City of Kelowna, the “city-wide solution” won over the advisory committee after its initial decision not to support the creation of the proposed Glenmore Recreational Park at the corner of Longhill and Valley Roads.

The committee refused to support the proposal to use 10.5 hectares of ALR  land because it felt the plan was not in the best interests of agriculture in the city.

But after city officials went back to the committee and agreed to several measures aimed at enhancing agriculture elsewhere, the committee relented.

The committee’s support is considered critical to getting the provincial Agricultural Land Commission to approve the removal of the land from the agricultural land reserve.

“Council asked us to get the support of the AAC, so we went back with several mitigating proposals,” said Barton.

Those measures include removing existing sports fields at Scenic and Valley Roads so the land can once again be used for agricultural purposes, moving the existing area fire hall off agricultural land to what is considered a better location and improving water and drainage on a large block of agricultural land in the Benvoulin and Springfield Road area. Moving the firehall could be as long as five to 10 years off.

The proposals put to the committee also call for a covenant for the new recreation park to have the land return to the ALR when it is no longer needed for recreational use.

“There are only so many things we can do in the (proposed) park so we looked instead at a city-wide solution,” said Barton.

The land the city wants to use for the new park is currently privately owned but the city has made a deal with owners pending approval by the land commission to allow the recreational uses.

Development of the new park would likely take place over several years, similar to the development of the Mission Recreation Park on Gordon Drive and could cost millions to complete.

Some preliminary work on the recreation site concept has been started, but no specific proposal is drawn up yet.

The decision to move forward will rest with a decision by the ALC, for approval of the land being removed from the Agriculture Land Reserve.

 

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