Summerland orchardist Derek Lutz examines fruit trees in his orchard in the 2019 photo. A bylaw change passed by Summerland council on Jan. 24, 2022 will allow kitchen facilities in accommodations for temporary farm workers. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland orchardist Derek Lutz examines fruit trees in his orchard in the 2019 photo. A bylaw change passed by Summerland council on Jan. 24, 2022 will allow kitchen facilities in accommodations for temporary farm workers. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Communal kitchen facilities permitted for temporary farm workers in Summerland

Councillor says existing farm worker bylaw is out of date

The municipality of Summerland will amend its zoning bylaw regulations to allow for communal kitchen facilities and common areas for temporary farm worker accommodations.

At the council meeting on Jan. 24, the decision was made following a notice of motion previously introduced by Coun. Erin Carlson.

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She said the original bylaw, which prohibits communal kitchen facilities, was written so owners of land within the Agricultural Land Reserve would not construct farm labour accommodation buildings and then rent them out to non-farm labour.

However, because changes to the Agricultural Land Commission Act, there is no need to prohibit this type of use in farm employee facilities, she said.

“In 2022, Summerland’s bylaw is out of date,” she said. “It is critical that we continue to prioritize farmers over landowners and therefore must make this change to ensure farmers can accommodate their employees.”

Coun. Marty Van Alphen said Carlson’s request for a zoning change is long overdue. “I think. a kitchen is an absolute must,” he said.

Coun. Doug Patan said the change will also help domestic farm labourers, not just temporary foreign workers providing farm help.

The motion was carried unanimously.

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