Kelowna city council has rejected a bid by a southeast Kelowna farmer to win council’s support to have the RV sites he has operated illegally on his property made legal.
Council unanimously sided with city staff, which recommended against the application to allow year-round rentals of recreational vehicles on the farm at 3317 McCulloch Road.
Calvin Kuipers argued he needs the eight RV sites to supplement his income to keep the farm operating. In addition to growing grapes, there is also has chickens, alpacas, sheep and a small winery on the property.
Appearing before council Monday, he listed off his income from various facets of the farm’s operation over several years, to show the RV site made it possible to replant on the agricultural land.
“Without the (RV) park, I could not afford to be a farmer,” he said.
He said the RVs are rented by farm workers. While they move in and out, the RVs appear (from photos presented by city staff in its report) to remain on the property. There is a washroom/shower room built beside the RV sites for the campers.
In 2016, Kuipers signed a covenant with the city in order to be allowed to open the winery that said there would be a maximum of just eight sites for RVs, it would only operate between April 1 and Oct. 31, stay would not be longer than 30 days and no RV would be stored on site.
But city officials says a number of those conditions have been broken, including keeping the RVs on the site and renting them to different people year round.
The city says it has tried to get the owner to comply with the rules but says it has been unsuccessful and may have to take him to court.
Despite that, Kuipers wanted council to approve the permanent RV sites on land that was rezoned with a special zone to allow RVs on agricultural property in 2010. One other property in the city has the same zone. Since then, the city has decided to get rid of the zone and has not allow RV parks on farms.
RVs were first allowed to be parked on Kuipers’ property in 2003. There were originally 13 sites.
In rejecting the bid by Kuipers, Mayor Colin Basran said it was frustrating when farm operators are not willing to follow the rules and he advised the applicant to get his property into compliance or the issue could end up in court.
“It’s not a good use of city funds to go to court,” said Basran.
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