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Kelowna city councillor doesn't want to see another golf course lost to industrial land uses

During Monday’s council meeting, one Kelowna city councillor pleaded with city staff not to allow another golf course to become designated for industrial land use.

In March 2020, Kelowna Springs Golf Course, located at 480 Penno Road, was identified as "one major opportunity for new industrial development."

At the time, the property owners approached the city to explore opportunities for a commercial or industrial land use designation.

Currently, the property is zoned at Parks and Open Space (P3).

Staff’s report explained that the property is located in The Gateway district and is bordered by industrial lands to the west and south and the Agriculture Land Reserve to the north and east.

“The OCP pillar ‘Strengthen Kelowna as the region’s economic hub’ seeks to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship and supports employment growth in … this future land use designation allows for the subject property to support the regional economy by facilitating the need for new industrial land,” explained staff’s report.

Councillor Luke Stack countered this argument.

“I propose that we consider two other of our pillars. One pillar is to take action on climate change, the other pillar is to protect and restore our environment,” said councillor Stack.

He mentioned how some golf courses have already been lost to make way for grocery stores, housing developments, schools and even the future expansion of the airport.

“One by one, they are being converted to other uses. Cumulatively, the loss is significant and is now to the point that I believe it is negatively affecting the quality of life of our citizens.”

<who> Photo Credit: Kelowna Springs Golf Course

He also pointed to the 2022 citizen’s survey and noted that the biggest change in the survey was quality of life.

Mayor Basran repeated what staff had pointed out about the property owners approaching the city with the expectation that they were going to cease operations at the golf course.

He also pointed out the year-long process to develop the OCP with a “multitude” of public engagement that was followed up by a firm decision made by council to move it forward.

“To now go ‘oops we missed that, yeah let’s look at that’ when the owners have made life altering decisions based on a decision of council, just doesn't sit well,” said mayor Basran.

“For the greater good of our community, we’ve done the right thing.”

Councillor Stack proposed an alternate motion: an amendment to the 2040 OCP to ensure that Kelowna Springs would remain designated as recreational land.

Councillors Charlie Hodge and Mohini Singh supported councillor Stack’s motion.

Councillor Maxine DeHart thought this issue needed to be discussed further.

However, councillors Loyal Wooldridge and Ryan Donn and mayor Colin Basran did not support the motion. Councillor Brad Sieben excused himself from the vote and discussion.

On Tuesday, mayoral Candidate Tom Dyas said he would fight to save the Kelowna Springs golf course. To read our story, click here.

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