December 05, 2013 - 3:18 PM
'BRING FORWARD A PROPOSAL IN A PROFESSIONAL WAY THAT CAN BE APPROVED'
KELOWNA - The road to a Kelowna Mountain development will still go through the Regional District of Central Okanagan in some form, says chairman Robert Hobson.
He renewed the regional district’s stance on the contentious development after hearing through media what developer Mark Consiglio’s latest plans are.
"The board has said on many occasions: Bring forward a proposal in a professional way that can be approved,” Hobson says. "So if he continues to say I don’t need any approvals and I can do whatever I like, then of course that is going to lead to a little grist in the mill.”
Consiglio’s development remains as contentious today as it was in 2006 when he first started talking about building. He’s had many different ideas he’s expressed and even sold to investors but still no plans have gone before the regional district.
He’s made significant alterations to the land already, built suspension bridges, a snowboard half-pipe and several buildings. Instead of disclosing his plans—as developers are required to do—he is petitioning the court to help open a $5 million completed ‘Welcome Centre’ the regional district has so far refused to let him open.
Consiglio claimed at a press conference last week that he found a way to proceed with the development with minimal interference from local government. On a handout, Consiglio claimed his $100 million, 11 million square feet of greenhouses for a ‘wine park’ —at least one phase now planned for his development—requires “no rezoning, area structure plan, development permit or OCP amendment.”
Hobson says some of what he heard is, well, encouraging.
“(Greenhouses) are agricultural which does help if you want to make the case for agritourism,” he said. “Agritourism has to be associated with agriculture otherwise it’s just tourism, isn’t it?"
But he had his doubts a major development wouldn’t trigger regional district involvement of some sort. He couldn’t give any specifics because—again—no applications have been filed. Consiglio talks about building a two kilometre canal for skating in the winter, for example, which would require significant alterations.
Hobson maintains the regional district has no opinion on future land use there which has been divisive in the community with investors and supporters pushing for it and others who denounce the lack of disclosure or previous plans as too ambitious.
“We still think it would be a good idea for him to come in and talk to our staff and explain his dreams so we can determine if there are any hiccups along the road,” Hobson says. "So far he hasn’t popped in."
To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-718-2724 or tweet @marshalljones23
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013