Posted on 28 July 2010 by admin
OSOYOOS TIMES-July 28, 2010
By Laurena Weninger – Osoyoos Times
Despite Osoyoos council’s support of the proposal, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has once again refused to grant the removal of the “Wish” property from B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
“Excluding the property would have a negative impact on agriculture in that it would remove an 8.8 ha (hectare property) from the limited agricultural land base and transfer the urban/rural boundary and any potential conflict areas to the east,” states minutes of the ALC’s decision regarding the property.
The ALC made its decision at a June 10 meeting in Kelowna.
The decision also states that the land in question has agricultural capability, is appropriately designated as ALR land, is suitable for agricultural use and the removal of the land from the ALR would be inconsistent with the objective of the commission’s responsibility to preserve agricultural land.
Pemborough Developments Ltd., which owns the property, was working through agent Brad Elenko from Urban Connections to remove the land at 4927 Main St. in order to subdivide it into four lots for large format commercial retail uses, establish a 125-unit RV park and create medium to high-density residential housing.
The property’s owner previously applied twice to have this land removed from the ALR and while those applications were also supported by the Town of Osoyoos, they were denied by the ALC.
In 2004, the Town entered into a dispute resolution process with the ALC and the mediator agreed that an application for the property’s removal from the ALR would be reconsidered after the Town completed its new Official Community Plan in 2007.
The most recent application was forwarded to the ALC after a March 1 council meeting where councillors voted 3-2 to support the property’s removal.
Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells and Coun. Michael Ryan voted against the application, but councillors Margaret Chadsey, CJ Rhodes and Ted Cronmiller all voted to support it.
Ryan is pleased with the ALC’s decision.
“I am convinced that they made a wise and correct decision,” he said via email, adding he is not surprised with the decision in light of previous refusals.
“I voted against endorsing it for exclusion because I was convinced that it was suitable for agricultural use and, if released from the ALR, would also put more pressure on the adjacent agricultural land to be released,” Ryan said. “I hope that the land will soon be turned once again into productive agricultural land.”
He said there is always the possibility of using the property for greenhouses, if not as an orchard, and as a last resort the property could be donated to the Town of Osoyoos for use as a community garden for interested residents.
The property’s owner and his agent declined an opportunity to comment on the decision.