Kelowna farm gets approval for extra RV sites

Plan to improve a KLO Road farm that now just grows hay is dependent on RV sites and agritourism income says applicant.

A Kelowna family that wants to turn a KLO Road farm that currently grows hay into one that includes a market garden growing operation, has free-range chickens and eggs and bees and a honey-producing operation and offers agritourism has won succeeded in getting council to agree to double the number of RV parking spaces allowed on the property.

Following a lengthy public heading Tuesday night—which went into the early hours of Wednesday morning—Kelowna council agreed to a request by the Lintell family to increase the number of RV spaces on the property to 10 despite opposition from city staff and some in the gallery.

Staff made the recommendation because increasing the number went against a policy introduced by the city a few years ago that limited the number of RV spaces on farms embarking on agritourism endeavours based on the size of the property. The Lintell’s farm is six hectares in size.

Staff also wanted to see the agricultural plans up and running before further consideration of more RV spaces.

But after hearing from 27 people who spoke at the public hearing, most supporting the Lintell’s and their plan, council voted 6-3 to approve change, Couns. Luke Stack, Tracy Gray and Gail Given opposed.

During the public hearing, council was told by staff there are currently 15 other farms in the city with RV parking allowed on site but only five are in compliance. Most addedthe parking prior to the city’s current policy.

Some opponents to the Lintell’s plan had questioned the famuily’s commitment to farm the property, saying a deal with a nearby market gardener and a beekeeper will mean they are simply providing the land.

But Tyler Lintell told council his deal with highly regarded Kelowna market gardener John Hofer, whose current operation is located across the road from the Lintell’s farm,  will be a partnership, one where he will work with Hofer and be be mentored by him. Lintell said he will also be in charge of the chicken operation on the farm.

In answering one councillor’s question, Lintell vowed to be “hands on” when it came to running the farm. And to reassure council, the offered to sign a contract with the city saying he would carry through with its plans to turn the property into a fully functioning farm.

The RV sites on the property will be located away from the KLO Road entrance of the farm, at the back along the side that borders the Mission Creek Greenway. Buffered from the Greenway by cottonwood trees, the area of the farm was described as the has the worst and most unproductive area on the property for farming.

The location raised some concern for a representative of the Friends of Mission Creek, who wanted a reassurance the RV’s would not adversely affect the popular creekside walking trail.

Tyler Lintell said he needs the RV sites to to help pay for the improvements to, and running of, the farm. And he said the five allowed sites would not be enough.