Controversial West Kelowna church plan pulled; council to rescind bylaw amendment | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Controversial West Kelowna church plan pulled; council to rescind bylaw amendment

A Devon Road church development is being opposed by West Kelowna residents.
July 27, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The plug has been pulled on a proposed West Kelowna church development that had stirred up a lot of community dissent.

In a report before West Kelowna city council, it says that  the "applicant (for the Devon Road Development) has requested to withdraw their application."

As such, staff is recommending that council rescind first reading of the Official Community Plan and Zoning Amendment bylaws to close the file.

West Kelowna city council already voted earlier to rescind the second reading of an Official Community Amendment bylaw and Zoning Amendment bylaw for a property for the property.

At that time they expressed some serious reservations about the Evangel Baptist Church development as a whole.

The church was originally pitched to be 6,000 square feet but the latest proposal has it set at 12,000 square feet. It also originally had planned for 55 parking stalls, and that number grew to 110.

With the bigger ask in mind, council asked the developer to return to the table and offer up additional information about the project.

They also wanted to hear that there had been some community consultation.

Residents of West Kelowna's old County Pines subdivision have been raising concerns about consultation, among other things, since they became aware of the development.

They've also said the church was too big for the residential area and would require too much upheaval in an ecologically sensitive area.

Leading the charge against the development was area resident Wade Neukomm, who said among his concerns was the painted turtle, which is an at risk species that makes the area its home.

“This pair of water systems has been choked by humans ever since they started coming into this area, starting with the gravel pits and the development of this road,” Neukomm said during an interview in the spring.

“So we’re all active participants in its demise, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop it. This would be the last nail in the coffin. This is the last frontage of the two ponds that isn’t fully developed.”

While the church is off the books, it's unclear if there's anything else planned for the space. 

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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