The Supreme Court of B.C. has ruled in favour of the District of Lake Country (DLC) in a court case between the DLC and the Kelowna Ogopogo Radio Controller’s Association, whose members had been flying remote control aircraft in Lake Country for the past several years.
The court ruled the club was in contravention of a DLC bylaw and has issued an injunction to restrain the operation of model aircraft on the private land that is protected under the Agriculture Land Reserve.
“It’s unfortunate it had to go to court but model aircrafts were never considered as something that could be used on agriculture land,” said Lake Country mayor James Baker
Baker said the DLC did initially approve the use of the land for the model aircraft club but soon after realized that decision was in error and revoked its land-use permit, asking the club to apply for a temporary permit and work to find a solution.
According to Baker, the club continued to operate on the land and the DLC was forced to take the matter to court.
Kelowna Radio Controller’s Association (KORCA) president Todd Davis says it’s a disappointing judgement that is hitting the 75-member club hard.
“When we moved here everything fit within the zoning bylaws and Lake Country gave us full approval,” said Davis. “But then the neighbor started to complain and things changed. We have members from age five up to 90. Some of these guys it’s their only reason for getting up in the day. It’s the only thing they do. For a lot of our members it’s heartbreaking.”
The model aircraft club began in the late 1970s near Sexsmith Road, was then forced to move to Black Mountain where it operated for 20 years before most recently locating in Lake Country.
“I don’t know what we will do now,” said Davis. “Finding a suitable location in the valley is next to impossible with all the urban sprawl.”