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The fight over Kelowna Springs Golf Course heats up

Kelowna city Coun. Luke Stack is amping up the fight to save Kelowna Springs Golf Course.

On Friday, Vancouver-based Denciti Group announced it has purchased the 106-acre golf course at 480 Penno Road, just south of Kelowna airport, and intents to redevelop the property into an industrial complex.

Such news seems to indicate Kelowna Springs' future transition from green space to industrial is a done deal.

But Coun. Stack has other ideas.

"I met with the owners of Denciti and at the end of the discussion they asked if I would consider not bringing my resolution (to keep Kelowna Springs a golf course) to city council on Monday," Stack told KelownaNow.

"I've decided to move forward on Monday and hope council votes in favour of directing (city) staff to make an OCP (Official Community Plan) amendment to return Kelowna Springs to a private recreation designation from industrial."

</who>Coun. Luke Stack is leading the charge to save Kelowna Springs Golf Course from being turned into industrial land.

This is where the situation becomes complicated.

OCP designation and land zoning are two very different things.

The OCP to the year 2040 is designed as changeable guideline of how the city should grow into the future.

Land zoning is a legal outline of what the property can be used for.

"The crux of the matter here is that Kelowna Springs is not zoned industrial, it's zoned P3 private recreational," explained Stack.

"Yes, the OCP says in the future Kelowna Springs could be used for industrial, but I take issue with that and want council to vote on it again."

Stack said it was risky for Denciti to buy the golf course on OCP industrial support when the property is still zoned P3 private recreational.

Again, this is where it gets complicated.

In January 2022, city council approved the 2040 OCP, which included support for an industrial future for Kelowna Springs because the city has a shortage of industrial land and the property is nicely located for industrial south of Kelowna airport and just off Highway 97.

In August 2022, Coun. Stack proposed that industrial support be changed to keep Kelowna Springs private recreational.

At the time, council voted 4-4 and in cases of a tie the motion was defeated.

Stack said there could be a different outcome on Monday because there's a new mayor and three new councillors.

In the last vote, Coun. Brad Sieben didn't partake because he had a client involved with the project.
The mayor at the time, Colin Basran voted for industrial as did councillors Gail Given, Loyal Wooldridge and Ryan Donn.

To keep it recreational was Stack and councillors Mohini Singh, Maxine DeHart and Charlie Hodge.

When Tom Dyas was campaigning for mayor, which he became in the October 2022 election, he said he was in favour of keeping Kelowna Springs a golf course.

The three new councillors -- Ron Cannan, Gordon Lovegrove and Rick Webber -- are also in favour of keeping the golf course a golf course, according to Stack.

So, conceivably, the vote could be 8-1 in favour of saving the golf course on Monday.

</who>Kelowna Springs Golf Course covers 106 acres on Penno Road south of Kelowna airport. It's been there since 1990 and was designed by renowned Canadian golf course architect Les Furber.

Stack is adamant for a variety of reasons.

He said there's strong public support for keeping the golf course; that the course is close to wetlands and Ackland Pond and waterways should be protected; that industrial redevelopment of the land could negatively affect water flows during flood conditions on neighbouring agricultural land; and that it's a quality of life issue.

"People don't want to see an erosion of green space," said Stack.

"We've already seen Shadow Ridge Golf Course given up for airport expansion, Fairview Par 3 in the Mission became the H2O Centre, Central Park Golf Course become Walmart and Aspen Grove Golf Course in Winfield become a school."

While Denciti's news release outlined redeveloping the golf course to industrial, it also mentioned a possible retention and enhancement of a portion of the property for recreational use.

"We are working alongside stakeholders to find a collaborative solution for the future of this property," said Denciti CEO Garry Fawley in the news release.

"We are ready to roll up our sleeves and work together to get this right for the people of Kelowna. We want to create a win-win situation for the entire community."

Fawley wasn't speaking personally to media on Friday.

The communications firm representing Denciti said Fawley would be in Kelowna on Monday (the day Stack's motion will come up at the city council meeting) and would do media interviews on Tuesday morning.

KelownaNow is scheduled to meet with Fawley Tuesday morning.

Denciti is an active BC developer with projects such as the Fraser Gateway light industrial park in Chilliwack and the Squamish Gateway light industrial park.

In Kelowna, Denciti has plans for a 5.5-acre light industrial and commercial complex called North Kelowna Crossing at 2100 Rutland Rd. North and a 39-unit apartment building called The Royal at 416 Royal Ave. near Kelowna General Hospital.

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