Big development planned for Peachland waterfront is ruffling feathers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Big development planned for Peachland waterfront is ruffling feathers

Beach Avenue resident Ted Cave put up a crane Tuesday, March 16, 2021 to illustrate how tall the proposed Peachland development will be.
March 17, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Looming 52 feet above Ted Cave’s Beach Avenue home is a crane that’s turning heads and raising eyebrows.

It’s out of place among Peachland’s row of waterfront homes, and that is the point he’s trying to make about a controversial development poised to take residence next-door to him.

“I put up the crane on Tuesday morning and I am hoping (people) will be shocked that (town council) is considering buildings of that height on Beach Avenue and that they will email mayor or council about it,” he said.

It’s beyond the 11th hour when it comes to the future of this development, which was all but approved before it hit a roadblock. On March 9 developers went to council with the expectation of final approval, or fourth reading. What would normally have been a routine final approval of the rezoning bylaw, turned into an hour-long debate about the merits of the project and the implications it could have on that area of Peachland.

In the end, with Mayor Cindy Fortin expressing a change of heart from her original vote of support, council deferred any decision until its March 23 meeting.

It was an unusual turn of events as far as public hearings go, and Cave said he found it heartening.

“I was impressed, very impressed,” Cave said, adding that dissent would make sense in this case.

“I think the citizens already spoke once when it came to public hearing two years ago, and they will be shocked when they see (how high) the development is.”

Cave was one of those residents who spoke out about the development at a 2019 public hearing that saw 22 people offer their opinions on the proposed four-storey, mixed use building. All but one person at that hearing was strongly opposed to to the project, largely due to its height but also for reasons like parking, traffic and views being blocked.

“It’s a requirement of government that you consult stakeholders, but you don’t have to listen to them,” he said, adding that he’s become cynical of the process.

But, he said, there are a million reasons for council to really make a different choice, not the least of which is that in 2002 there was a study and analysis of the neighbourhood and it said two storeys would be most ideal on Beach Avenue, with higher density buildings falling in the space between it and Highway 97.

The reasons he would see it that way are obvious, but Cave said the space is popular among Okanagan residents and a looming building could only weaken the character and appeal of the area.

“People walk that path all the time, and it’s a pleasure,” he said. “Change along Beach Avenue is fine, but it should be done with style and with respect for other properties there. We are as a town are just better off if we don’t have tall buildings on Beach Avenue.”

The matter returns to council on March 23.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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