South Okanagan  

Naramata legal battle ends

A legal battle dating back several years over a piece of Naramata waterfront property has come to an end.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with the Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative (OTFC) for the purchase of a property that is home to a water system pump station.

“This secures our infrastructure on our land,” said Donna Butler, development services manager. “It provides the regional district with ownership of a key piece of property.”

The RDOS purchased the property on First Street adjacent to Naramata Wharf Park, for $250,000. The land transfer was completed Feb. 4.

Prior to the purchase, the regional district held a right-of-way for the pump station

According to Karla Kozakevich, Naramata director for the RDOS, the OTFC initiated a lawsuit in 2006 when the new water treatment plant was built at a different location in Naramata and subsequently the existing pump station doubled in size.

The OTFC had long had a small pump house there for fruit growers and did not like the increase in size, she said.

The lawsuit was put on hold and there was some discussion of a land swap. That fell through because the community was opposed to the idea.

The lawsuit was re-activated and fell on her lap to deal with it.

Ultimately a decision was made to purchase the property, rather than go through a lengthy and costly battle in court.

“We decided we would rather put the money in buying the land than going back and forth, because our asset is on the property,” she said.

Tree fruits is currently trying to sell the old packing house land in Naramata for $7.5 million, and it would have also looked bad to have a piece of that property in litigation.

“I think it turned into a win, win situation for everyone,” she said.

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