November 04, 2015 - 2:51 PM
KELOWNA – The Regional District of the Central Okanagan is once again being challenged in court by Kelowna Mountain Development Services.
This is the second attempt by Kelowna Mountain and its owner Mark Consiglio to challenge the planning authority of the regional district. The most recent failed bid was in September 2014 when the Court of Appeal dismissed the case.
Kelowna Mountain Development Services Ltd. is the owner of a 160-acre parcel of land on Kelowna Mountain on which it plans to establish a “vineyard park” to attract visitors.
The land is currently zoned RU1 (Rural Zone 1), which is meant to accommodate agricultural and rural uses on parcels that are 30 hectares or greater and located outside the Land Reserve. There are 16 types of permitted uses in the RU1 zone, including agriculture, agri tourism, and winery and cidery.
In December 2013 the district imposed limitations on the already-constructed Welcome Centre, citing "uncertainty as to the occupancy or use" but that didn't stop Consiglio from holding a press conference in the wine cave and unveiling drawings of the ambitious, 11 million sq. ft., $100-million Wine Park. He said at the time that it complies with all current zoning regulations.
“The park will feature a two-kilometer-long canal and promenade, surrounded by 12 spectacular, architecturally-unique greenhouses, each growing grapes for 12 different wine products,” said Consiglio. “Our family and investors hope that the wine park will become the most popular, single-owner tourist attraction in British Columbia.”
The release does not specify what is at issue in this latest challenge but in the Notice of Civil Claim Consiglio says the actions of the District caused him to waste $50 million.
“The result of the Regional District’s actions was to effectively put the plaintiffs out of business,” the claim says. “In its zeal to prevent all development on Kelowna Mountain, the defendant exercised its powers with malice and intent to injure the plaintiffs."
RDCO Board Chair Gail Given says the District intends to defend itself against this latest accusation.
“It’s unfortunate that yet again, Central Okanagan taxpayers will be footing the bill for a legal challenge from this developer,” she says. “I can also confirm the Regional District has yet to receive any application from the developer for consideration by the Regional District.”
Late last month Global Okanagan reported a foreclosure lawsuit has been launched against Consiglio and several of his corporate entities. The petitioners are asking the court to order the sale of his entire 480-acre Kelowna Mountain property.
Another lawsuit brought by Tri City Capital claims Consiglio owes them more than $600,000 for defaulting on a mortgage.
A sketch shows one of the 11 structures developer Mark Consiglio hopes to build on Kelowna Mountain.
(ADAM PROSKIW /InfoTel Multimedia)
— This story was updated Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 3:20 p.m. to include information from the Notice of Civil Claim.
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