Farm housing amendments

The City of Kelowna is ready to try again to implement a temporary farm worker housing bylaw.

In April, council gave initial reading to a bylaw, however, opposition from both farmers and the BC Fruit Growers Association prompted council to defer second, and third readings, to implement changes heard at a May 2 public hearing, and consult both the BCFGA and Ministry of Agriculture.

A report outlining a new set of bylaws will be brought to council Monday.

Staff made eight changes to the original draft policy.

Among the amendments, a change in the maximum number of months farm workers can stay from eight to 10, maximum size of structure to accommodate up to 60 workers from 40, and increase in structure footprint from .20 hectares to .30 hectares, and allowing for structures in each sector of the city. That will allow more than one temporary farm worker housing location per farmer.

In its report, staff indicated a desire to provide a balanced approach that would meet the needs of the industry and other interests.

"Staff have endeavored to provide a policy framework that promotes certainty for farmers while acknowledging the land use implications, and aim to minimize conflicts with broader community issues," the report stated.

"The discussions with industry and resulting amendments represent a softened approach to reflect the
agricultural industry needs, but also aim to provide the necessary land use, compatibility and servicing
analysis to ensure they fit within each city sector with minimal impact."

The final bylaw must be signed off on by the Ministry of Agriculture before it can pass final reading.

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