Agur Lake Camp seeks removal from ALR

Regional district board supportive of request from society for barrier-free, wilderness camp near Summerland

As a special camp for disabled children inches its way towards completion, regulatory work continues behind the scenes.

The Agur Lake Camp Society, which is building a barrier-free, outdoor paradise in the wilderness near Summerland, has applied to have its main leased property excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

That application was sent to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board last week for comments. A smaller, adjacent property that is under lease from Robin Agur was removed from the ALR in 2005 because of what the commission considered its limited potential for agricultural use due to its rough topography and high altitude.

Allan Patton, the RDOS director for rural Oliver, said he was concerned that the 11.6 hectares of Crown land under the camp and subject to the most recent exclusion application is improperly zoned as a resource area.

“Resource area means there’s lot of allowable uses other than this camp, and I would like this area to be specific to this camp,” said Patton, who also worried that once the 99-year lease on the land expires, it could be put to some other use.

RDOS Director Michael Brydon, whose area includes Agur Lake, told the board that the resource designation is fairly restrictive. Other allowed uses, he noted, include a golf course, animal hospital and one single-family dwelling.

“There’s nothing really here that … raised any red flags to me,” Brydon said.

Patton concluded there are different allowable uses for resources areas in different parts of the RDOS and dropped his objection.

“I’m totally in favour of this whole operation… I’m just saying I’d like to have the zoning reflect what the use is,” he said.

Brydon asked the board to refer the application to his area’s advisory planning commission, which will study the matter and then make a recommendation to the board and the ALC.

“I think (the committee) will look upon it favourably and it will be one more piece of community input going to the ALC to move this along,” Brydon said.

After the meeting, he explained that the camp society previously applied to have the site designated for non-farm use as a stop-gap measure to allow work to begin on the cabins.

“But full exclusion from the ALR is a preferred outcome since it reflects the actual use of the land and will significantly reduce the administrative burden on the (volunteer) society as they work towards their vision for the facility,” said Brydon, who noted that there is a risk the ALC will not approve the application.

Camp society president Carla Ohmenzetter could not be reached for comment.

The camp, which now boasts two barrier-free cabins and trails around the lake, is expected to welcome its first guests next summer.