City council carded a tie vote on the future land use of Kelowna Springs golf course at Monday’s (Aug. 22) meeting.
It means the property at 480 Penno Road will remain designated as potential industrial use under the 2040 Official Community Plan (OCP). Under the B.C. Municipal Act a tied vote results in a motion being defeated. Councillors Luke Stack, Mohini Singh, Charlie Hodge, and Maxine DeHart voted in favour of having the golf course changed to private recreational. Mayor Colin Basran, as well as Councillors Loyal Wooldridge, Gail Given, and Ryan Donn voted against. Coun. Brad Sieben excused himself from the vote noting a conflict of interest. Stack made the original motion for the designation change at council’s July 26 meeting.
“I know council has seen the many letters that we’ve been receiving everyday on this matter of people wanting to see this golf course preserved,” he said. “I’ve yet to receive a letter from the public encouraging us to proceed and leave this as a future industrial site.”
Stack added he believes there are alternatives to find needed industrial space in the city.
“A professional commercial realty group was quoted last year as saying in their estimation there are 280 acres of underutilized industrial land in the city.”
Stack noted there are undeveloped lots in the airport industrial park, Jim Bailey industrial park, areas of downtown Kelowna, and 182 acres of city-owned land next to the Glenmore landfill that might be suitable for industrial use. Mayor Basran said he came at the issue from an affordability and quality of life standpoint.
“We hear every single day about the affordability challenges and the issues that our residents are facing,” he said. “So I’m going to be making a tough decision but one that I believe in wholeheartedly in providing them with opportunities for good year-round jobs.”
Basran added that industrial land is scarce and expensive.
“In order for businesses to be able to set up shop here, land has to be affordable in the appropriate places for them to do so. If we don’t have that land, the price of industrial land continues to rise.”
Coun. Stack argued that the public has spoken clearly to him in asking council to retain the golf course.
“I remember a saying of our former Mayor Walter Gray. His comment was the public is always right.”
A staff report to council earlier this year projected a significant need for industrial lands in the city over the next twenty years to keep pace with demand. According to that report, the Kelowna Springs golf course owner approached the city in 2020 to explore opportunities for either a commercial or industrial land use designation change for the property.