Sale of Kelowna Springs will not stop councillors attempt to change its future land use designation.

Golf course still a hot topic

The announcement Friday that Kelowna Springs Golf Course has been sold to a real estate developer will not stop a Kelowna city councillor from moving ahead with a motion to change the property's future land use designation.

The land use designation of the Kelowna Springs property was changed from private recreation to industrial in the 2040 Official Community Plan which was adopted in January of 2022.

However, Coun. Luke Stack came forward in the summer asking that the OCP designation revert back to private recreation. The motion was ultimately defeated but, with a change in the makeup of council and the fact it became a hot button issue during last year's election campaign, Stack has decided to bring the item back for reconsideration.

His motion will be tabled Monday and, if adopted by council, would be brought forward with a staff report at a subsequent meeting for debate.

Speaking with Castanet News, Stack says he met with the new owners a week ago who asked him to consider delaying his motion for six months.

He says he considered the request but declined.

Stack says he is not concerned his motion is sending the wrong message by trying to change the designation after the new owner, Denciti Group, spent millions to purchase property with a future land use designation of industrial.

"We are not talking about the zoning of the property, we are talking about an Official Community Plan. It's a high level document that looks at the future growth direction of the city. There are many properties in the OCP that show a future use different for maybe what they are being used for today," said Stack.

"It does not give property rights. For them to suggest they have property rights based on this is simply not the case. It is not zoned with those property rights today."

As it presently sits, should the new owner bring forth an application to rezone the property, staff would support it because of its OCP future land use designation of industrial.

"I want to return it to what it was originally ... private recreational. Then if they want a change they could bring it forward, but it would be an OCP change at that point."

Mayor Tom Dyas took to Twitter to speak about the matter Friday afternoon, noting the sale of the property occurred "many months ago."

"My position today remains the same as it was during the campaign, I do not believe the future land use for Kelowna Springs should be industrial. Council will be revisiting this topic on Monday," Dyas said.

Stack says he is going through this process for two reasons – to try and preserve a golf course and protect valuable green space.

"You have a very sensitive ecosystem. This has natural springs on it. I have heard from many property owners that have farm land around it that are very concerned that if Kelowna Springs is built out it will create flooding issues on their land because it is adjacent to Mission Creek and Acland Pond," says Stack.

"Another group of residents are concerned about the environmental benefits of the pond. To build it as an industrial park will have further implications for the city."

Stack adds the loss of two golf courses over the years and the pending loss of Shadow Ridge to future airport expansion marks a reduction of the quality of life many people come to Kelowna to enjoy.

"The argument has always been we need to grow and we need this for more jobs, but I counter with the reason people come to Kelowna is for our quality of life. And, if we further diminish our quality of life, where do we hit our tilt point where all we are is an industrial city.

"I am being extreme when I say that, but that's my point. We are continually chipping away at the quality of life in our city."

Regardless of how the property is designated within the OCP, any owner or developer has the right to seek to have it changed through an OCP amendment.

More Kelowna News