Kelowna City Council has approved the rezoning of a piece of land to build a new gurdwara, a temple that the local Sikh community has been wanting for a long time.
A letter was first sent to city staff in July 2022 by the Guru Amardas Sikh Society, telling staff that the community is growing at a rapid rate and that the current temple at 220 Davie Road has become too small.
They sourced 2809 Benvoulin Road, a property designated rural-agricultural, and asked council to amend it to education and minor institution to build a new temple.
A staff report against the rezoning was first put forth to council in April of this year, citing that they did not recommend council approve the bylaw changes, because it does not meet the overall policies of the Official Community Plan for agricultural land.
The plan is to build a 2,335 metre-squared, 2.5-storey building. While 600 metres will be set out to be used as a vegetable garden.
Members of the public were invited to address council after the presentations at the July 11 meeting, with some citing the impact that the Sikh community has on agriculture in the area.
“I have grown apples for the last 26 years,” said one addressee. “My kids have grown on the orchard….we farm over 2,000 acres in Kelowna a year.”
Other members of the public that were opposed told council of concerns about traffic safety and water management.
Council approved the rezoning 6-3, with councillors Ron Cannan, Charlie Hodge and Luke Stack opposed.