Lake Country’s O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars is applying to the District of Lake Country to expand its indoor and outdoor food and beverage service areas. (Jon Adrian Photo/orourkespeakcellars.com)

Lake Country’s O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars is applying to the District of Lake Country to expand its indoor and outdoor food and beverage service areas. (Jon Adrian Photo/orourkespeakcellars.com)

Lake Country winery’s expansion plan opposed by agriculture, health ministry

O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars has sent a non-farm-use application to Lake Country council

A popular Lake Country winery is looking to expand its dining operations.

O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars has submitted a non-farm use application to the District of Lake Country to extend both indoor and outdoor food and beverage service areas on the Goldie Road property.

While staff and the district’s agricultural advisory committee have recommended supporting the application to council, two agencies – the Ministry of Agriculture and Interior Health – have expressed some concerns.

The winery would like to extend the indoor food and beverage area by 40 square metres and the outdoor service area by 16 square metres.

The owner of O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars said in the application that the expansion being sought would “not harm any existing agriculture on the property as the area being considered is currently a lawn area of poor soil that is shaded by the existing winery building.”

The applicant also believes the expansion will “aid in making the farm operation more viable, while it celebrates agriculture by allowing the public to experience a farm-to-table experience.”

The Ministry of Agriculture said the parcel is quite small (4.03 hectares) and only 2.64 ha is in primary agricultural production with 0.5 ha devoted the existing winery.

“The level of production on this property does not, therefore, appear to be commensurate with expanding the lounge area beyond the 125 metres squared indoor and 125 metres squared outdoor areas already permitted by the Agricultural Land Reserve Use regulation,” wrote the ministry.

The application would see the indoor area grow to 162.8 metres squared and the outdoor to 150.1 metres squared.

Interior Health said the application for expansion “does not appear to support food security because it will not increase the availability and access to locally produced, healthy food.”

“Farmland preservation helps to maintain a level of food production that contributes to food self-sufficiency, and food self-sufficiency supports healthy eating,” wrote Interior Health.

Council will deliberate the application Tuesday, Nov. 17. If they agree to the staff recommendation of support, the application would be forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission which has the final say.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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