Kelowna spends millions to keep development away from garbage dump - InfoNews

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Kelowna spends millions to keep development away from garbage dump

The City of Kelowna paid almost $12 million to expand its buffer around Glenmore landfill.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/City of Kelowna
January 10, 2019 - 11:45 AM

KELOWNA - The City of Kelowna will spend almost $12 million to make sure no one builds houses near the Glenmore Landfill on what is called Diamond Mountain.

The city has agreements for sale with two property groups who owned the majority of the land that was proposed as the Diamond Mountain housing project south of John Hindle Drive and east of Glenmore Road.

That 1,000-unit plan by Troika Developments was rejected last year by city council out of concerns it was too close to the Glenmore Landfill and could trigger future lawsuits.

“The landfill is going to be there, we anticipate, for 75 years or thereabouts,” Johannes Saufferer, the city’s director of strategic investments, told “This basically protects that for perpetuity.”

There is an existing buffer around the dump, including 185 acres of land to the north that was bought in 2012 for $8.5 million, he said. Other city-owned land includes property on the west side of Glenmore Road, part of which is used as an off-leash dog park.

The price tag for the two parcels is $11.9 million for 189 acres. That price is actually about six times the value put on the land by B.C. Assessments.

The largest property is at 1555 Glenmore Rd. It’s listed in the B.C. Assessment rolls as 107.6 acres worth a total of $905,063. That includes about $72,000 for the land and $833,000 for a 2,500 square foot house.

B.C. Assessments’ latest figures are based on values calculated as of July 1, 2018.

The other property is at 855 Packinghouse Rd., valued at $1,167,000. That’s just for the 73.47 acres of land as no buildings are listed for the property.

Together, the two were assessed at $2.1 million, or about 18 per cent of the $11.9 million the city paid for the land.

Saufferer pointed out that B.C. Assessments values land differently for agriculture than for development.

Last week, assessor Katrina LeNoury told that, by law, land zoned for agriculture had to be assessed at $50 to $2,000 an acre.

“We did an analysis of those parcels and we felt comfortable that the value we were paying reflects market value,” Saufferer said. “They are outside the ALR and they are located in a future urban reserve so, notwithstanding council’s decision earlier last year, there is still some speculative value in terms of how those properties could be used in the future.”

The purchase ensures that no development will happen on those lands.

Each parcel is owned by a different ownership group. Saufferer declined to name the groups. Troika did not own the land so are not part of the sale.

Two parcels from the original development proposal were not bought by the city. Those two, off Galiano Road, encompass about 33 acres and together were assessed by B.C. Assessments at $3.2 million. They are further from the dump than the two larger properties.

 — This story was corrected at 1:36 p.m. Jan. 10, 2019 to delete the following sentence: The two new properties are outside that buffer zone but are within the area that would need to be buffered if a composting facility is relocated to the landfill. Currently, that composting is done in Vernon.

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