March 04, 2014 - 8:14 AM
KELOWNA - Kelowna Mountain Resort got no help from a Supreme Court justice in one of its longstanding disputes with the Central Okanagan Regional District.
Justice Heather Holmes denied a challenge of the regional district’s interpretation of ‘agritourism' by developer Mark Consiglio and the resort. If successful, the resort could theoretically get full use on its $5 million welcome centre. Instead, it appears Consiglio and the resort must keep dealing with the regional district.
The challenge was largely based on semantics and precision of words in a bylaw that guides development in the area. For example, the welcome centre can legally only be partially used to the extent that it was built for ‘agritourism.’ Part of the trouble is the resort does no agriculture business at the moment, though it plans to build a $100 million wine park.
Holmes said even if the wording of the bylaw was vague or could be misinterpreted, the resort offered no alternative interpretation.
"I do not mean to be facetious or to evoke Lewis Carroll’s Alice and the March Hare in responding that in the abstract, the definition means what it says," Holmes wrote. "If specific issues of interpretation arise in relation to particular facts -- as they inevitably do in relation to almost every legislative provision -- the proper interpretation may be determined in a real factual context."
The developer has long been at odds with the regional district since it first began construction without submitting any development plans. It made significant alterations to the land, including construction of suspension bridges and once had plans to build thousands of new homes on the sizeable property on the south slopes. In 2012, the regional district put restrictions on development of the area in a community planning document at least until a development plan is submitted.
Calls to Mark Consiglio were not returned.
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— This story was corrected for clarity at 11:19 a.m., replacing the word "occupancy" in the second paragraph with the word "use".
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