Kelowna temporary farm worker housing take two

City tries again to come up with a policy for housing temporary farm workers.

The City of Kelowna is taking another shot at finding a solution to its ongoing issue of how to allow temporary farm worker housing.

On Monday, council unanimously approved a number of changes to the policy it introduced earlier this year. It was a policy that drew a large crowd at a public hearing and was deferred by council pending some alterations following concerns by farmers and the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.

“Staff have done a marvelous job of going from a rock and a hard place to something we can all live with,” said Coun. Charlie Hodge in praising the changes recommended by staff.

Those changes include:

• Allowing for structures in each sector of the city, which could allow farmers to have multiple temporary housing facilities on multiple pieces of farm land in Kelowna.

• Changing the maximum number of months farm workers can stay to 10 months from eight.

• Increasing the maximum number of workers who can be accommodated to 60 workers from 40 depending on the size of land.

• Increasing a structure’s footprint to 0.3 of a hectare from from 0.2 of a hectare.

The changes were made after further consultation with the BCFGA and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Councillors said they liked the changes, which they felt were a compromise that improved the previous policy.

The new proposed rules will now go back to another public hearing for further comment from farmers and members of the general public.

The will have to be signed off by the Ministry of Agriculture. It has said because of the current uncertainty about which party will ultimately end up in government in Victoria, it is currently in a holding pattern when it comes to approving such rules.

Despite that, all councillors and the mayor weighed in to praise the changes.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Coun. Mohini Singh, adding she felt staff hit what she called “the sweet spot.”

“It’s a spot that works for all of us,” she said.

Mayor Colin Basran said he was surprised to see the sector change.

The previous version limited temporary farm worker housing to one sector per farmer. It was a change several farmers asked for at the public hearing.

While Basran said he felt it “watered down” the policy slightly, it was a compromise he was willing to support.

Just Posted

Basement fire quickly extinguished

Fire crews quickly extinguished a basement fire at a home in Kelowna

New Central Okanagan school district office behind schedule

New building now expected to be completed by February 2018

West Kelowna neighbourhood fed up with criminal activity

Prowler frustrating West Kelowna residents

Kelowna motel robbed, suspect sought

The suspect threatened to harm the lone front desk clerk and demanded money.

Kelowna airport hosts accessibility event

Canucks Autism Network event brings families together to help deal with air travel

Heavy snowfall expected on Coquihalla

Snow forecast for mountain highways

Serious home invasion reported in Kamloops

Two people are in hospital with serious injuries following a home invasion

Annett finishes season on the podium at Ironman Arizona

Penticton triathlete sets new course record on the bike

Cash donations create purchasing power

Salvation Army and food banks stretch a donated dollar a long way

Hergott: A pedestrian’s legal obligation

Lawyer Paul Hergott questions the moral obligation of pedestrians and motorists

Huskies grab valley title in thriller over Bears

OKM defeats Boucherie in five-setter in Okanagan AAA final, both teams head to provincials

Coyotes grab Okanagan boys title

George Elliott defeats Seaton in AA volleyball final, seeded third heading to provincials

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

Last day for shoeboxes at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship

Kelowna church has been gathering gifts for kids in need in countries around the world

Most Read