Kelowna, in the heart of the beautiful Okanagan Valley, is a prime tourist destination all year round. Tourists travel from various parts of Canada, Europe, Australia and other countries to take advantage of Kelowna’s “Four Season Playground”, which includes skiing, boating, hiking, wine and spirit tasting and, of course, golfing.
The Central Okanagan tourism industry is worth $2B per year, generates $204,000,000 in tax revenue and over $443,000,000 in direct spending at local businesses, and generates 13,000 jobs within the Central Okanagan region. In 2022, more than 1,000,000 passengers travelled through Kelowna International Airport, which is well on the way to returning to its pre-COVID-19 number of over 2,000,000 passengers annually.
Part of the Kelowna Springs has been housed by a championship golf club for the last 33 years. It occupies 43 hectares (106-acres) and is bordered on the north, east, south and northern half of the boundary by agricultural land.
The Springs has over 600 trees that are roughly 35 years old. These trees are in their prime for sequestering carbon which is important in countering climate change. The soils, grasses and trees are important as the carbon sinks and the trees release oxygen as they take up the carbon dioxide.
The Springs is an important greenspace as it provides a buffer to the surrounding land. It is closely interconnected to the adjacent wetland (as explained below) and is heavily treed and vegetated which is important for countering climate change.
The bordering land of the golf course is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). As the golf course is a green space, it offers a buffer to the surrounding land, which is a wetland, Simpson's Pond. As it is a designated wetland, it requires special consideration due to its environmental sensitivity. Species that rely on wetlands include migratory birds, amphibians, insects for birds, bats, and a wide variety of plants.
Wetlands provide critical ecosystem services including flood control, groundwater recharge, water purification, nutrient cycling, and carbon
sequestration. The Springs includes 7 ponds that provide wildlife
habitat and water to irrigate the golf course so it is a closed system (does not rely on outside water for irrigation).
Most golf courses in the Okanagan require off-site water for irrigation so this one is unique in that regard making it more environmentally self-sufficient water wise and more sustainable. The wetlands butt up to the western boundary so it logically feeds into the water-table of the golf course so the wetland and the golf course are “interconnected through the water-table.”
Over the years many species of wildlife have been observed by local nature enthusiasts, in the surrounding areas and on The Springs. There have been turtles, foxes, owls, muskrats, ducks, geese, fish, ospreys, bald eagles, hawks, herons, bats and other animals on the course. In addition to these animals making this area their home, the following birds have also been spotted:
Eurasian Collared Dove
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl