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Farmers' market times three?

There could now be two farmers' markets in Kelowna.

A development proposal put forward more than two years ago finally came back to the council table for approval Monday.

This proposal would see a farmers' market set up in the large vacant lot across the street to the south of the current Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters Market.

Council gave first three readings to OCP, text rezoning and text amendments back on July 10, 2012, however, the development stalled while the developer sought to meet certain conditions set forth by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

On Monday, Council gave final approval to the series of amendments and also waived the requirements for a Development Permit and a 25-year lease to be considered prior to adoption of the Zone Amending Bylaw.

While that project sat idle a second proposed site for a new farmers' market on Clement Avenue just outside the downtown core surfaced.

That site was eventually approved by the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters Market Society board against the wishes of many of its members.

That decision has caused a rift within the organization.

"I wish them every success but I am a little unhappy to see the breakup within the organization. If they don't pull together none of these sites may succeed," said Councillor Robert Hobson while speaking in favour of the Benvoulin application.

"I think it's a great project. I would love to have one downtown I would have to admit but I know this is the area a lot of people would like to be and it has a lot of benefits having permanent parking and all that kind of thing."

Councillor Andre Blanleil agreed.

"I think this is an excellent project. I really do see it as a Granville Island type which is really focussed on agriculture," said Blanleil. "I am glad to see it finally get to a point where hopefully something can happen."

"I share the enthusiasm and I'm glad it's going ahead. I was worried maybe it wasn't because of the discussion with the farmers' market downtown," added Mayor Walter Gray.

"I look at it this way - it always takes a private developer to take the risk and, in both cases, it's a private developer taking the risk."

Gray said he likes the fact the market would be so close to the Mission Greenway and believes the ambiance will be a contrast to the one downtown if it goes ahead.

Land use director, Shelley Gambacort told council there were four conditions put on the development by the ALC when it was first proposed.

  • Requirement of a 25-year lease with the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters Market
  • Registration of a covenant stipulating the future public market management regulate the tenants with first priority to local BC farm and food products
  • Council consideration of development permit on the property
  • Requirements of the development engineering branch, land use branch and regional district be completed to their satisfaction

Council waived two of these conditions.

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