Business denied a 2nd time

A long-contested rental business in Oliver that has been operating on land reserved for farming has finally heard its death knell from the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, who declined to send it for review by the Agricultural Land Commission. 

The RDOS board first decided that the Oliver Rental Centre, a vehicle and trailer rental business on Sawmill Road, was not allowed under Agricultural Land Reserve rules back in December. They voted not to authorize a non-farm use on the property on Dec. 6 2018, but the owner requested an opportunity to re-submit his application. 

On Thursday, the board had that re-submission before them, and heard from an agent of the owner, 18-year-old Raghvir Dhaliwal.

The agent said the nearby industrial park is "completely full," and asked the board to consider giving Dhaliwal a temporary license to operate while Dhaliwal finds another spot or provide their support to the non-farm use and allow him to proceed to the Agricultural Land Commission for final approval. 

Rural Oliver director Rick Knodel has been against the business operating on agricultural land from the start, and continued voicing his concerns Thursday.

"I am not really in favour of this. The owner had the option of removing the portion of the business that was in controversy the first time around, and instead it’s expanded," he said. “A potential solution was given and it wasn’t taken."

The re-submitted application included a petition with dozens of Oliver residents' signatures in support of the rental business.

The board had to decide whether to allow the application to continue to the ALC, who would have the final authority to approve it or order it shut down. Without the ALC's involvement, the board could not provide even a temporary permit. 

Ultimately the board decided it would be a waste of the ALC's time to send the submission to them unless they themselves intended to allow the business to continue should the ALC approve it. The motion to deny passing the application along was carried with only directors Coyne and Bush dissenting. 

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