The Westbank Centre Agriculture Plan was created in support of the protection of West Kelowna farmland from non-farm development pressures by discouraging ALR exclusions and non-farm use applications. The plan is intended to encourage agri-tourism and agricultural business endeavors. While the document focuses on 8 parcels south of Westbank Centre, the information presented is transferrable to all agricultural lands within West Kelowna.
The City retained Upland Agricultural Consultingto assist in the development of an implementable plan. The plan was approved by Council on October 12, 2016.
The City of West Kelowna thanks the plan area stakeholders for their participation and Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia for providing funding assistance toward the Westbank Centre Agricultural Plan project.
You can access the Westbank Centre Agricultural Planhere.
What is the ALR?
The provincial government recognises the importance of making agriculture a priority. Thus, the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a reserve of protected agricultural land in British Columbia which may be farmed, forested or vacant. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled.
The ALR is administered by the Agricultural Land Commission, a board of 12 members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, and is responsible for making decisions pertaining to ALR lands.
The ALR covers approximately 4.7 million hectares, and includes private and public lands.
For more information on the land reserve and the commission, please visit the Province of British Columbia's website at:
The plan area incorporates eight parcels with several land owners. In the map below all eight parcels, except one (3898 Brown Rd), are located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
Historically, agricultural land within Westbank Centre functioned in a variety of capacities (ie. orchards, farming etc.). Over time, due to factors such as lack of interest and changes in agricultural profitability, these uses diminished.
The creation of a plan to return this land to agricultural production, serves to honour the area's history and support a unique economic opportunity in the heart of West Kelowna. Farming initiatives related to local agricultural experiences and products will contribute to a distinct West Kelowna identity and support the area's economy. The preservation of farm land and the encouragement of agricultural uses is highly valued by the City of West Kelowna and the Province of British Columbia.
West Kelowna Agricultural History
Agriculture has been an important industry in West Kelowna and was the catalyst for settlement in the area. In the 1800s, the fur trade and the establishment of the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway contributed to further growth of the area. The railway increased viability of farming in the Okanagan through access to larger markets. Improved irrigation in the early 1900s and the demand for farm products resulting from the Gold Rush and Similkameen mines necessitated further expansion of agricultural production in the form of packinghouses, processing plants and sawmills.
Plan Implementation & Opportunities for Agriculture in Action
West Kelowna is a fertile part of British Columbia known for its historically active orchards and farms. There is an incredible opportunity for the agricultural community to diversify resulting in production that is complementary to its outstanding reputation for wineries. There is opportunity to focus on additional crops, while also capitalizing on visitors seeking agricultural tourism experiences. Implementation of the plan is multi-faceted and will depend on the involvement of land owners, farmers, local businesses, and local and regional organizations. Connectivity between experienced and inexperienced farmers through mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities will be important as agricultural production in West Kelowna grows into the future. The City's Economic Development Office (EDO) can assist various groups within the agricultural sector with connections between applicable players where possible.
You can contact the EDO at 778-797-2215 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Agri-tourism?
Agri-tourism is a temporary, seasonal use occurring on agriculturally zoned parcels.
The use promotes the agricultural industry through innovative opportunities in the local area. Such an operation is secondary to, and supportive of, the primary agricultural use(s) of the land.
Examples of agri-tourism are (but not limited to):
Farm retail sales including produce stands and farmer’s markets
Wine tasting and food services associated with vineyards