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Paving farm land—downtown Kelowna businesses take another knock
To the editor:
Re: Council Endorses Development for ALR Land, Sept. 24 Capital News.
I can see the conflict in the future: …the affected farmer verses the [Bennett family owned] McIntosh Properties business. If [the farmer] finds the correct lawyer, the city and McIntosh will be sued for interfering in his farming.
Remember how the city stole creek-side property from Cliff Serwa and two other neighbours and the cost to city taxpayers was in the $3 million + range and the neighbours won.
When McIntosh tries to sell the apartments or rent them out, they must disclose to the tenants that [there may be] spray, noise and smell that may come drifting in their open windows in the future. [The farmer] has been backed into a corner and he will fight for his livelihood.
How Kelowna city council decided on this in favour of McIntosh leaves one to think of Mr. Mulroney—did his disease drift into Kelowna on the wind?
One councillor was on the radio saying that there is no viable farming for the property since there is no access.
Will there be access for the developer? Yes there will be at least two more sets of lights on Springfield. So, a developer can purchase farm land (in the ALR) and let it lay in weed infestation, pour snow embedded with road salt on top of the top soil, then later say, “the land is not suitable for farming.” Then, the developer obtains instant permission to develop the land for another 200,000 sq. ft. of shopping to add to the already huge shopping developments in Kelowna.
There are two mega churches and Fortis offices already close to the farm land and it is a wonder that they were also allowed to build on ALR land.
With regards to development, I don’t believe many in Kelowna are anti-development—just not on ALR land.
Think into the future when Mexico and California and Chile cannot deliver our cheap groceries. There are thousands of acres of land not in the ALR and not suitable for farming, so why not use that and leave the farm land alone?
My family came to Kelowna in 1963 and soon after, the Bennett family bought the huge pear orchard where Orchard Park is paved over. This was prime farm land but the development went ahead. At that time the land was just outside the city limits. This new development affected the downtown severely by taking business away from the merchants.
Orchard Park was refused a sewer and water connection by the city fathers for some years. The old city fathers did not like the competition. It is not the developer’s fault, they will go as far as the city allows.
Kelowna in the future will be several kilometers of shopping and apartments and highrises and the tourists driving through town will not notice any of the natural beauty—just the concrete and pavement and business. I assume that the official city planning does not allow for any farming to remain.
It has been said that the ALR is just a “holding system for developers since they already own much of the strategic land in the ALR.” Ask city council which farm land is next. Much farm land has already been lost further south along Benvoulin Road, etc.
Maybe the city should treat this the same as what happened to Rattle Snake Island and just take [this farmer’s] farm away from him, which happened about 25 years ago. This drove the owner of Rattle Snake Island mad and he was in conflict with the Canadian Embassy overseas.
Yes, Kelowna, history may repeat itself in Kelowna.
Who is in charge of city hall? Will the tax payers be willing to pay for another long court case and legal fees and lawsuit?
I can see it coming and [the farmer] will win. Maybe pig farming is in his future—I like pigs. I have some property next to the pig farm, would you like to rent it?