Neighbours fear boulders will crash into their homes if West Kelowna hillside development goes ahead - InfoNews

Current Conditions

17.2°C

Neighbours fear boulders will crash into their homes if West Kelowna hillside development goes ahead

This narrow access road already has rocks falling onto it. Neighbours fear more will fall if the road is jackhammered to put in water and sewer lines.
Image Credit: Submitted/Lee Karvonen
June 20, 2019 - 6:30 AM

KELOWNA - Lee Karvonen takes little comfort in the City of West Kelowna’s promise to have a geotechnical engineer take responsibility for preventing rocks from falling into his neighbourhood.

“I still think the development of that site makes no sense at all,” the resident of Treasure View Estates on Shannon Lake Road told iNFOnews.ca.

At issue is a proposed 97-unit townhouse development overlooking Shannon Lake Road, Karvonen’s subdivision with 20 homes and another 20 homes in the nearby Crystal Springs manufactured home park.

The hilltop land was rezoned in 2012 and is going before city council on Tuesday, June 25, for a development permit. Council deferred a decision on that permit on May 28 because of concerns about things like the form and character of the buildings and loading areas.

What was not at issue for council at that meeting was the possibility of serious damage to neighbours from blasting and jackhammering in order to put in water and sewer lines and clearing rock off the top of the hill.

“There’s all kinds of lose rock they’ll have to scrape off,” Karvonen said. “That suggests to me more rockslides down on Crystal Springs and, if they jackhammer the road, that suggests that the bluff is going to collapse because that already sluffs rocks year-round without any help.

“There’s some pretty big rocks that might come down. And it also might, with that seismic shudder from the jackhammering, loosen some rocks down at the far end of our development because there are some rocks just waiting to be given a shake so they can roll down on the other side of Crystal Springs. We just think there are too many dangerous possibilities with this.”

West Kelowna residents worry boulders will fall into their neighbourhood if a Shannon Lake hillside development is allowed to go ahead.
West Kelowna residents worry boulders will fall into their neighbourhood if a Shannon Lake hillside development is allowed to go ahead.
Image Credit: Submitted/Lee Karvonen

Back in 2002 or 2003, when a developer did some blasting on the hillside, a football-sized rock shot through the air, crashed through the roof of a home and missed the owner’s recliner by less than two metres, Bob Logan, who lived two lots away, told iNFOnews.ca.

“It went through the roof, down to the floor then bounced up and embedded in the roof again,” he said.

While Logan, who still lives in Crystal Springs, seems less worried about a repeat of that near tragedy than Karvonen, he still plans to go to the council meeting Tuesday.

“I sent off a letter, not of opposition but of concern, to find out if the new group knows what they’re doing,” Logan said. “The last group didn’t.”

West Kelowna Planning Manager Brent Magnan told iNFOnews.ca that, even though development permits are more about the form and character of a project, he’s adding extra rules to deal with concerns from neighbours.

“The permit will have a condition in there that a geotechnical engineer will be responsible for monitoring and providing guidance for all of the servicing works to ensure the rockfall hazards are managed appropriately and to also ensure that there’s no impacts on downslope residents,” he said. “So, we’ve basically taken Lee’s concerns and added them into the permit to make sure we have a failsafe.”

Technically, these issues would have been more appropriately dealt with during the rezoning application but that was six years ago so the density – at 97 units – is not up for debate.

The question Karvonen wants council to tackle on Tuesday is whether such a “dangerous” project should be allowed to go ahead at all.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular vernon News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile