Public hearing set for proposed OCP change for Kelowna Springs golf course

Golf course goes to hearing

Both the new owner of Kelowna Springs golf course and the public will have a chance to address city council June 6 on a proposed land use designation within the city's official community plan.

The designation change from private recreational to industrial came at the request of the previous owners of the golf course who proposed the change, saying the property would not continue as a golf course through the duration of the 2040 OCP.

After the OCP was unanimously endorsed by council and an attempt to revisit the property last summer was defeated by council, new owners came forward to purchase the 106 acre property.

B.C.-based real estate developers Denciti Development Corp. purchased the property last fall for what CEO Garry Fawley said was north of $30 million.

Council is now taking a second crack at the future land use designation of the golf course.

Monday, council gave first to a bylaw that would, if successful, revert the property's future land use back to private recreational. Reverting the designation back to private recreational would not prevent redevelopment of the site, but it would add an additional hurdle.

It also triggers a public hearing that, at the suggestion of Mayor Tom Dyas, be delayed until June as opposed to the next available date which is customary in most cases.

Dyas, in a written statement said the new owners of the property requested to speak before council Monday before a vote to bring the item to a public hearing.

"I do not believe anyone should receive special treatment from council, but I also want to recognize that this is a unique situation but not unheard of," said Dyas.

"Therefore, while I believe the owner should be able to speak to council in an open meeting, it should happen in an open public meeting, where the public can speak as well."

Dyas says the owner also asked that a public hearing date be delayed in order to better be able to bring forth their vision for the golf course property, prompting his suggestion of June 6.

Others on council, including Coun. Loyal Wooldridge suggested a longer delay until the fall, wondering why there was such a rush to bring everybody before council.

"I still don't believe his request of six months from today is unreasonable (to hold a public hearing). I would like to make a friendly amendment to the motion to allow that," said Wooldridge.

"This is a large site and to come up with a plan and address the concerns written in by the public, whether it's wetlands or green space, takes time. To do that by June I don't think is reasonable."

Wooldridge is also the last remaining councillor who voted against switching the future land use from industrial last summer.

He voiced some of the concerns around available industrial land Monday.

"As a business person I am still concerned about industrial space in Kelowna. This isn't just warehousing, this is to create employment opportunities for young people into the future.

"And, we are still waiting on a report from staff on what are our industrial needs in Kelowna."

The June 6 public hearing will be scheduled for 4 p.m. Dyas indicated this would be the only item on the agenda.

More Kelowna News