- OES students tackle schoolyard dog poop problemPosted 1 day ago
- GMO foods dangerous, pervasive, former federal scientists tell forumPosted 1 day ago
- Former Stockwell Day assistant Neufeld will seek federal Conservative nominationPosted 1 day ago
- Christmas Lite-Up events feature Santa Parade and entertainmentPosted 1 day ago
- Vancouver pharmaceutical company applies for license to operate commercial medical pot facility in OsoyoosPosted 1 day ago
- School support staff prepared to walk picket lines starting Tuesday morningPosted 7 days ago
- Osoyoos stores open, close, move, change handsPosted 1 week ago
- Travel writer names Okanagan as world’s top wine destinationPosted 1 week ago
- Local leaders respond with caution to possible changes to modernize Agricultural Land CommissionPosted 1 week ago
Public meeting in November will allow local residents to discuss large RV park proposal
A public meeting has been set for early November to allow local residents to give their thoughts and opinions about the much-discussed 22-acre “Wish property”, where a local land developer has been trying for more than a decade to open a huge recreational vehicle park in this community.
Kevin Demers of Pemborough Estates has attempted, and failed, on numerous occasions to receive an agricultural land reserve (ALR) exclusion from the province’s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) dating back more than 10 years.
The property in question is located south of the intersection of Hwy. 3 servicing land owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) near 45 Street, just outside town limits.
In early July, members of town council agreed, without prejudice or taking a stand one way or the other, that the revised draft area plan submitted by Kent McPherson, who was representing Demers and Pemborough Estates, was sufficient to support another formal application to be excluded from the ALR.
That application was formally received by the ALC on Oct. 3, along with the $600 application fee of which the town retains half of that amount.
The discussion of the issue at Monday’s regular meeting of town council wasn’t to argue for or against yet another application to try and be excluded from the ALR, but rather to discuss opportunities for public involvement in reviewing the applicant’s proposal, said Alain Cunningham, the town’s director of development and planning.
The upcoming public meeting will allow informal discussion among council and members of the public as compared with the legal proceedings of a “public hearing”, which only allows council to receive representations from the public, said Cunningham.
Information gained from the public meeting can be taken into consideration by council at a subsequent meeting along with the applicants report before determining whether or not to support the ALR exclusion application to the ALC, he said.
The 140-page submission by McPherson to the ALC will be posted on the town’s website under news items.
When Mayor Stu Wells once again suggested he would prefer if council remains neutral on this application and not take any position, Cunningham said he didn’t feel that was a good idea.
“If the Agricultural Land Commission somehow approves this you will have lost your voice on this matter” if council doesn’t take a position, said Cunningham.
Wells said he’s personally not convinced a huge RV park is the best use of this large tract of land, even if it was eventually excluded from the ALR.
“I would rather see an $800,000 house built there with taxes coming to the town,” he said.
Coun. C. J. Rhodes said this issue has been discussed so often in the past decade, it’s time to allow members of the public to voice their opinions either in favour or against it.
“It has a lot of impact on this community and our residents,” he said. “Some are happy about it and others are unhappy. A public meeting is one of the best ways I can think of … it will allow people to speak out.”
Coun. Sue McKortoff said she remains opposed to the idea of destroying a large tract of agricultural land to build an RV park.
“I have found this a very difficult issue to deal with,” she said. “I have great difficulty taking this land out of the ALR.”
Despite her concerns about this proposal, McKortoff said she is looking forward to attending the public meeting and hearing what local residents have to say about this proposal and its potential ramifications on this community.
All members of council are hopeful a large crowd will show up at the public meeting on this issue on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The town will advertise the public meeting in the Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 issues of the Osoyoos Times.