Kelowna wants the Agricultural Land Commission to approve the exclusion of 40 acres for the purposes of building a new and expanded regional transit facility at 4690 Highway 97 North, adjacent to UBC Okanagan.
“The expansion would allow for increased transit service in order to meet long-term transit demand in the Central Okanagan,” says the city in information provided as part of a public consultation on the lands that wraps up June 30.
The tract is part of a 140-acre property the city acquired in 2017 for $11 million. It did so with a vision of creating new public spaces, improving drainage in the area and balancing development with agriculture.
“The city is committed to working with the Agricultural Land Commission to identify opportunities to improve agriculture as outlined in the city’s agricultural plan,” city director of strategic investments Derek Edstrom said at the time.
The city now says the soil is of poor quality, noting that the site has long been deemed ripe for removal.
“In 1995, the Agricultural Land Commission acknowledged the site to be seriously compromised for long term agricultural use based on the isolation of the property and proximity of the university lands to the north,” it says.
However, it hasn’t ruled out agriculture on the remaining lands, which includes a small lake and marsh.
“We are hopeful that innovative farm use may emerge on the remnant lands,” it says.
The city plans to submit an application this month and review feedback this summer. It expects the ALC to consider the application this fall, with a decision anticipated in November.