Fruit growers frustrated with City of Kelowna over temporary farm worker housing plan
April 17, 2017 By InfoTel News
April 17, 2017, Kelowna, B.C. – Members of the agricultural community in Kelowna, B.C., say City Council did not communicate with them enough when constructing a new temporary farm worker housing plan.
Kelowna city council forwarded the new temporary farm worker housing plan to public hearing at Monday afternoon’s, April 10, council meeting.
The plan focuses on making the process simpler for farmers who want to house fewer than 40 workers on their property. Those farmers would have one meeting before council and no public hearing. Farms with over 40 workers will have to go through council and a public hearing process.
The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association would like to see a different way of determining when an application for temporary farm worker housing should go to public hearing. They have requested the city host further dialogue with industry partners before the plan moves forward.
According to the City’s suburban and rural planning manager, over 90 per cent of Okanagan farms use less than 40 workers, and the City has spent ample time trying to consult with the agricultural community.
Revised policy changes were sent out again for comment on February 10, 2017. However, the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association was not included in this e-mail. It was not until March 15, that the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association was sent the final revised policy for comment before the April 10 council meeting.
A public hearing for the new temporary farm worker housing plan will be held on May 2, 2017.
If the new plan is not accepted at the public hearing the City will have to look at different options and will have to consult with all partners once more. READ MORE
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