No agriculture means no agri-tourism
Sep 23, 2013 / 9:40 pm
An agri-tourism business without the agriculture was a non starter for a majority of Kelowna City Council.
With that in mind, council voted against an application to rezone a property bordering Benvoulin, Cooper and Byrns roads A1 with Agri-tourism Accommodation.
Brian and Linda Pahl, owners of the 10.69 ha parcel of land appeared before City Council Monday asking for council's blessing to rezone the property to allow for the development of 10 RV sites.
However, in an 8-1 vote (Councillor Andre Blanleil supported the request) council said no.
Environment and Land Use manager, Todd Cashin says a small portion of the property has recently been planted with pear trees and there is alfalfa growing there as well, but no extensive farming is taking place.
In his report, Cashin suggested the owners farm the property for a couple of years and then re-applying for the agri-tourism designation.
"I am not a farmer but I picked fruit as a kid so I know all about that," stated Brain Pahl in response.
"Being a successful farmer today is very expensive and we are trying to get our two boys interested in farming and they are interested in it. But, like I said, the money isn't there, so how do you get the new generation of farmers out there."
Pahl told council they tied planting corn last year but the weeds outgrew the corn and have tried alfalfa this year.
"We are looking at all kinds of things," says Pahl.
"We are looking at trees...maple trees and things like that because the land is very good for growing. Also ground crops, vegetables. We are planning on trying corn again."
Pahl says they have an idea of what they want to do - they are just trying to line all their ducks in a row.
While sympathetic to their plight, councillors stated en masse that, in order to qualify for an agri-tourism designation, agriculture must be a central component on the property.
"I was hoping you did have a farming plan because agri-tourism is so people can enjoy the farming experience of living on a farm but this kind of putting the cart before the horse," says Councillor Gerry Zimmermann, a former member of the Agricultural Land Commission.
"You don't have a plan so really you don't have agri-tourism at this stage of the game."
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