West Kelowna  

West Kelowna council decision puts future of long-time business in jeopardy

Company future in doubt

A business serving West Kelowna for nearly five decades may have to close its doors permanently after city council denied its request for heavy machinery and equipment storage on its Bartley Road property.

Approved Services owner Steve Richardson made an impassioned plea to council Tuesday to vote against staff's recommendation to deny the application.

"We're a third generation business in this town that has been working here for 46 years. We've worked along with your utilities department, your roads department, the fire department, RDCO," said Richardson.

"We take care of the Casa Loma water utility, the Trader's Cove water utility. We are out there in the flood, in the fires.

"We have nowhere to go. My son is taking over the business and all we are asking for is a place to park our equipment."

The company has been utilizing space at the Ensign Industrial Park on Auburn Road but Richardson says that lease, which expires at the end of the month is not being renewed.

With industrial land scarce in West Kelowna, Richardson says the company is out of options.

"This is it for us. Once you say no, that's it, we're done. We have no other options.

"We are just trying to run a business. We've been working along with this community for 46 years and it feels like we are getting kicked in the butt.

"We just don't know where to go anymore."

The company has asked to store its equipment on one acre of the Richardson's 9.87 acre parcel on Bartley Road.

The property, according to staff is zoned A1 agricultural, which became a sticking point for council.

Staff also indicated concerns from neighbours of the property as well as bylaw infractions and enforcement complaints that the applicant was operating while the application was being processed.

There were also concerns about hyrdovac vehicles dumping material on the property. When pressed on that by Coun. Tasha Da Silva, Richardson said the material was only dirt and water, nothing toxic.

Staff also suggested the original application has evolved over time, something Richardson also took issue with, prompting Coun. Stephen Johnston to ask the matter be deferred until council could better understand the discrepancies.

The motion did not receive a seconder.

"I sympathize with the applicant and appreciate the good work he has done," said Mayor Gord Milsom.

"But to me this would be a precedent we would be setting. I don't recall us ever allowing heavy vehicle and equipment storage on agricultural land."

Council voted unanimously to deny the company's application.

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