An online petition has been launched by a concerned neighbor who is opposed to Poplar Grove Winery’s proposal to build a 20-unit upscale hotel on an adjacent property.
Owner of the winery, Tony Holler, said Penticton and the Naramata Bench needs a high end hotel.
“We have, I think now, 35 or more wineries on the bench and if we can get people staying up here I suspect we can get them going right down the bench and enjoying this beautiful area,” Holler said.
Holler said about a third of the 1.5 acre property is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) but it’s never been farmed.
“That’s because the bed rock coming off Munson Mountain goes down this slope and that’s why it’s never been used for agriculture before,” he said.
The project is drawing the ire of some neighbours.
Chris Bull and his wife moved to the area 12 years ago because of the “rural feel.”
“We don’t think that a big five story hotel is going to fit in with that at all,” Bull said.
He’s also concerned about the loss of ALR land.
“We realize that it’s only a small piece of land that they’re taking out of the reserve but it certainly sets a precedent. It is death by a thousand cuts,” he said.
Catherine Rublee owns a home and an apple orchard nearby and started the online petition against the project.
“We feel that a hotel is not an appropriate use of this area,” Rublee said.
The winery has applied to the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission and the City of Penticton for alternate use and zoning amendments.
“We’re just starting, this is the very beginning,” Holler said.
Some neighbours hope to put a cork in the proposal and vow to not give up without a fight.
“We’ve got the most marvelous piece of heaven here and it would be nice to keep it that way,” Bull said.