'Resort-type' winery complex envisioned in Lake Country

Vision of 'resort-type' winery

Lake Country district council will take a look next week at the conceptual next stages of the ambitious O’Rourke Family Vineyards development in Carr’s Landing.

Construction has been underway for years now at the 220-acre property at 15362 Barkley Road. The partially-constructed primary winery building — which includes a pair of amphitheatres, owner’s residence, restaurant, crush pad and more built into the ground and connected with a series of tunnels — is already following current zoning.

The project is back before council for consideration of a customized zoning bylaw for the property, commonplace for larger developments, that would pave the way for the "resort-type" development.

Lake Country manager of planning Cory Gain, in her report to council, said “as the development progresses and evolves” the owners intend that the existing facility be complemented by offices, an expanded restaurant, retail sales of farm products, accommodations and other facilities.

“It is also anticipated that the greater site will evolve to accommodate a variety of visitor experiences, from wine tours to overnight accommodation,” the report states, adding housing will also be required to accommodate full-time farm workers.

Municipal planning staff are suggesting, given that the development will likely evolve over many years, that the custom zoning parameters are kept general and that other details be managed through the development permit process.

“Basic controls on height, area, lot coverage and density afford greater flexibility and foster innovation,” Gain said in her report, noting that the future scale of development of the site would ultimately be constrained by water supply and septic percolation limits. The winery is not connected to municipal water or sewer and has constructed its own systems.

The special zoning plan would break up the 17 properties spanning 220 acres into four distinct areas, each with their own set of rules for property uses and building constraints.

The provincial Ministry of Agriculture said the “resort-type development is appropriately proposed for parcels located outside of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)” while recommending proper setbacks on the southern lots adjacent to the ALR.

Council will discuss giving preliminary approval to the special zoning on Tuesday, something that would be followed by engagement activities by the winery and a public hearing before the process moves any further.

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