The City of Kelowna is hoping to use land earmarked for agriculture just south of UBC Okanagan for a new regional transit facility.
On Monday, council is expected to support the city’s application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to have the land, near the Highway 97 offramp to the university, removed from the agricultural reserve to facilitate the development of a new bus depot that would replace the aging one on Hardy Road.
The city bought the property in 2017 with the intention of eventually using it for transit.
A report by city staff states the ALC has also identified the area for potential industrial use, which the transit facility would fall under.
Despite city staff’s endorsement of the proposal, they admit there is still an impact on agriculture. As such, the proposal includes $600,000 in mitigation and compensation measures aimed at “promoting and strengthen agricultural objectives in the community.”
“These resources would be used for the establishment of an Agricultural Reclamation Fund, a dedicated agricultural planning resource, an agricultural signage program, and enhanced agricultural buffering around the proposed facility,” reads city staff’s report.
The current Hardy Road transit yard is struggling as Kelowna continues to grow, increasing pressure to expand public transit. The city says the current facility does not have the available space to increase transit service to meet community demand.