Community readying itself for public hearing on massive West Kelowna development | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Community readying itself for public hearing on massive West Kelowna development

A public hearing for Blackmun Bay is scheduled for Oct. 23
October 22, 2019 - 5:00 PM

West Kelowna residents who are concerned about a massive development proposed for the shores of Okanagan Lake marched today, gearing up for an Oct. 23 public hearing.

“If you see residents from Casa Loma walking across Bennett Bridge today feel free to honk your horns and show your support,” read a Facebook update from the Casa Loma community group. “Say No to Blackmun Bay—it’s just too big!”

The neighbourhood group has been rallying public support since the early days of the proposal that would increase the area’s density from 350 homes to 1,000. Among their ranks is area resident Michael Budd, who said he believes that the project is simply not viable and not safe for area residents.

“I’m not anti-development, I’m a retired developer, but the infrastructure has to be there so the rest isn’t at risk,” Budd said.

“It has to be the right place and the right time and the right fit (for a successful development). It’s not the wrong time — it’s the wrong place and there is no fit.”

Budd said that the development is much too large and if the population would expand to the proposed size, area roads, as well as water and sewage systems, would be insufficient.

So much so, he said, that development cost charges for other developers would also start to rise so services could be expanded, inhibiting further investment.

“This project is completely out of balance with all other developments in West Kelowna; so much so that the City will have to spend several million dollars upgrading the existing sewer and water lines throughout their entire system to accommodate the demand created by this single monstrosity,” he said.

“Add to that the reality that no owners in Lakeview Heights or Casa Loma will be able to sell their homes during the blasting and construction, and you have lower tax revenue on the $300 million in homes already in the community. You have a trail of costs, not the road to riches.”

The developers have said that they believe the value outweighs the concerns of a specific group of people.

“When you are in the development business, you know there isn’t a single development that a person hasn’t raised their hand and said, ‘I object,’ — whether it’s a fourplex in Calgary or this here,” Robert Moskovitz, Manager of Development & Operations for Landstar Development Corporation said.

“We believe that the development has a lot of value that it brings to West Kelowna, as a city in general, a spectacular landmark development and the economic ripple effects outweigh some of the controversy of the opposition.”

He said the opposition is narrowly defined within a particular segment of the community and in the last few weeks those complaints have been outnumbered by calls from people trying to find out when the project will finally be up for investment.

“Generally, we want to provide a product that people want to live work and play in,” Moskovitz said.

“It has some advantages, it’s built into a cliff, has a spectacular view and allows people to live close to the water, so people can go boating and play watersports and so on. It provides a lifestyle people want.”

The development would is for townhouses, condos and a hotel on a 7.1-hectare property along Campbell Road in Casa Loma.  A marina and boat launch is included. 

Due to the high level of public interest in the controversial project, the hearing will be held at the Westbank Lions Community Centre at 6 p.m tomorrow, Oct. 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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