Unlimited event hosting plans for Kelowna farm denied

A family of farm owners in Kelowna won't be able to host as many outdoor weddings as it pleases next summer.

On Monday, council sided with a proposal from the provincial Agricultural Land Commission to allow 10 events per farm per year, with up to 150 guests.

The proposal was to have the city move an application to the ALC that would see Hillcrest Farm Market be allowed to host an unlimited number of events, and possibly many more guests.

Councillor Tracy Gray says it's too big of a stretch.

"If you would have come forth with (proposing) slightly higher than 10 (events) and slightly higher than 150 (guests), I might be thinking differently," she said.

"But this requested jump is just far too great for me to approve of today. These provincial guidelines are new, and I think that we need to ease into them cautiously."

Councillor Maxine DeHart agreed, and says the Bal family needs to show they can handle a smaller number first.

"I think it would be really good if the Bals decided to have their 10 events at 150 or less. If we do not get any infractions and if things are going very well, as most of you have said, I'd maybe be happy (to re-visit this). But the word "unlimited" actually scares me to death," she said.

The family's spokesman Sukpaul Bal heard many concerns about the carrying to nearby properties, the closest of which are about 300 metres away.

He says they've put measures in place.

"When it comes to 10 pm, we get the DJ to lower the music level, and then by midnight usually that's when the music is off, so we're not trying to blare music as loud as we can up there," he said.

The Bals say in light of a tough year with rain this summer, it's become necessary to diversify business on the farm.

Only Councillor Brad Sieben voted in favour of the family's application.