Kelowna council supports plan for farm distillery

The owners of a southeast Kelowna farm say creating a distillery and allowing weddings will make their farm financially viable.

City staff may not like it, but Kelowna council has nothing but praise—and support—for a young couple who are trying to win provincial approval to allow them to establish a distillery on their southeast Kelowna farm and hold wedding ceremonies on the property.

City staff recommended against supporting the bid by Kristi and James Caldwell when it is forwarded to the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission.

That final decision will be based on the ALC’s requirement that farms use at least 50 per cent of its own grown produce for any allowed commercial operations.

The Caldwells said because rye is needed for the distillery and it is not grown on their farm, they will have to be bring it in from elsewhere in the southern Interior.

Despite that, the city’s agricultural advisory committee supported the Caldwells’ bid and so did city council Monday.

Councillors and the mayor praised the plan as a way of making land currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve, that is not considered overly productive, into something that will help farming.

The Caldwells say they plan to plant trees to produce fruit for the distillery products, and run several head of cattle on the 2.4 hectare property.

They already have chickens, sell the eggs the chickens produce and grow produce, as well as displaying a large collection of antique farming machinery on the property.

In addition to the distillery, the couple also wants to host wedding ceremonies—not receptions—on the lawn of the large farmhouse during the day in summer.

The Caldwells say they have no problem having a covenant registered saying that the business will only be allowed as long as they own the property. They say they want to keep it in their family and pass the farm on to their children.

“There’s no question this would enhance a marginal piece of property for agriculture,” said Coun. Luke Stack.

“This is benefiting agriculture and it makes a lot of common sense.”

Mayor Colin Basran said he was glad the Caldwells showed up in person to make their case because it convinced him to support their bid.

Basran said some people think they can buy farmland cheap because of restrictions imposed by the ALC and then try to get the property out of the ALR so they can start a business on the land.

But, he said, that’s not the case with the Caldwells, noting they genuinely want to keep the land her parents bought in 1990 and keep it as a farm.

“This is not like some people who want to exploit agricultural land,” said Basran.

Council voted unanimously to support the Caldwells’ bid and send it on to the Agricultural Land Commission for a final decision.


Just Posted

Okanagan Lake levels stay steady but snowpack is growing: officials

Whether or not the tributaries and creeks flood depends on how suddenly the snowpack begins to melt,

Kelowna council approves rental housing project

Plan for former packinghouse site calls for 148 rental units

Kelowna crew knocks down attic fire in Rutland

No one home at the time as Kelowna Fire Department extinguishes small blaze on Cactus Road

Okanagan realtors add voices to anti-speculation tax coalition

This speculation tax is likely to harm the very people the government is trying to protect

Bolt cutters and bear spray used in Kelowna break-in

“Both suspects were taken into police custody…”

Sunshine and above-average temperatures all week

We can expect to enjoy this warm sunshine all week long

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Penticton robbery trial starts days before accused’s murder trial

Narcotics, cash stolen from pharmacy; accused scheduled for murder trial next week in Abbotsford

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

Toronto songstress shares indie vibes with Okanagan

Emma Cook will rock Penticton’s The Elite April 28 before she hits Vernon’s Record City April 29

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Student produces gun at Princeton Secondary School

Starter pistol confiscated, RCMP are investigating

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Most Read