Farm worker housing proposal sent to public hearing

Cherry grower looking to house 140 temporary workers on farm at north end of Kelowna

A proposal to allow temporary housing for 140 farm workers at a Kelowna cherry orchard is heading to a public hearing.

Despite being more than twice the number of workers allowed by the city on farm the size of the one proposed for the housing—to be provided in trailers—council voted Monday to move the proposal forward.

City staff said the two groupings of trailers to house the workers would sit on non-Agricultural Land Reserve land that is not being farmed and which will be bermed and buffered to reduce the impact on neighbours.

The farm, owned by Geen Family Holdings, is located at the northern end of the city, bordered by Highway 97 on one side and Shanks Road on the other.

The farm is part of a large Lake Country-based cherry growing operation that is expecting to employ as many as 1,000 people this year. It has 670 acres planted now and will add another 410 acres over the next two years.

The trailers for the farm workers would be located along the Shanks Road side of the property.

Asked by Mayor Colin Basran about a comment by the applicant that the housing could be used for students when not needed by farm workers, city staff made it clear it could only be used to house the workers.

Last year, the city set the maximum number of temporary farm workers that could be housed at a farm at 60. But it said it would look at individual requests for larger numbers.

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