** Update: July 20, 2023:
Thank you to all who sent letters and signed the petition, and a special thanks to the Kelowna City Council for changing the Kelowna Springs Greenspace from 'Industrial' back to 'P3 Parks and Open Space'.
However, the fight is not over. Denciti's next step is to put forward a plan for the property to still have Industrial built on it. **
Kelowna Springs Golf Course land ("KSGC") ("The Springs") was released from Agricultural use to P3 Parks and Open Space by the Agricultural Land Commission on January 27, 1988. In January, 2022, the City of Kelowna approved its 2040 Official Community Plan (the “OCP”), which designated this area as potential future Industrial use. At that time, the citizens of Kelowna were unaware that Denciti Development Corp., as well as KSGC’s owners, had been in communications with the City of Kelowna for several years with the plan to change these lands. A parcel of land this large should have been flagged when asking City Councillors to approve the 2040 OCP, this way they would not be dealing with this issue today.
When the residents of Kelowna were made aware of the implications of the OCP to The Springs, there was an outcry. In May, 2022, Councillor Luke Stack brought a motion to reverse Council’s decision to allow for Industrial usage of The Springs. The motion was tied, which resulted in The Springs retaining its designation of potential Industrial use. The Springs was one of the platforms that several City councillors utilized in the City of Kelowna’s October 15, 2022 election. Mayor Tom Dyas, and many City Councillors, past and present, have been vocal advocates for keeping The Springs as a green space.
In February, 2023, Councillor Luke Stack again brought a motion to Council asking staff to amend the OCP, reverting The Spring’s usage to P3 Parks and Open Space. This motion was seconded, and was scheduled for a first reading with City Council on March 20, 2023. Now that this is adopted, a public hearing has been triggered for June 20, 2023, with all stakeholders being allowed to provide their feedback on rezoning impacts.
Denciti’s entire argument appears to be that Kelowna needs more industrial space. This is not the issue that is on the table: there are other lands that are more suitable for the City of Kelowna to develop, and these lands do not house protected species, act as a flooding buffer, and provide aesthetic pleasure to all.
The Okanagan Valley has many areas, some of which have already been mined, that do not offer the range of environmental diversity that The Springs offers, and would be more suited to industrial zoning.