Petition to protect Naramata Bench against large development gathers 2,000 signatures | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Petition to protect Naramata Bench against large development gathers 2,000 signatures

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
July 02, 2020 - 3:30 PM

A Penticton petition calling to “preserve and protect” Penticton’s Naramata Bench has gathered more than 2,000 signatures after a public consultation was held in the area regarding a large residential development.

The 121 acre site located at 1050 Spiller Road will accommodate 324 single and multi-residential housing units.

"It will be complemented by a neighbourhood park, community park, and a look-out park which will all be connected by a trail system," according to the developer's, Canadian Horizon's, website. The website also lists that public consultations have closed. 

Some residents aren't impressed.

“Allowing the Naramata Bench to be developed beyond the current agricultural density would forever change the look and feel of the area. It would take away from the destination as a sought after recreational area, affect wildlife, the natural abundance and ultimately affect all of the businesses in the area in a negative way,” reads the petition started by Josie Tyabji on Change.org.

“Over the last 25 years, the community around Penticton has moved beyond primary agriculture to craft goods, incorporating all elements of food production to farmers' markets, culinary compliments – building up into becoming world renowned for all that we produce, but also for our immense natural beauty associated with the destination.”

It suggests there are other areas in the city that wouldn't require rezoning.

It suggests there are other areas in the city that wouldn't require rezoning.

Tyabji said she's not against development, but would like to retain the agricultural feeling of the Naramata Bench.

"Changing the face of that would be changing the face of the bench forever so we have to be really cognizant of that," she said.

Blake Laven, director of development services for the City of Penticton, said the area is currently zoned as country residential which allows for lower density buildings and it has been outlined for residential development in the city’s Official Community Plan.

“It’s not fair to put it in terms of natural area versus development,” he said.

The developers have been doing a public consultation on their own which is likely why it's gathered a a public response. He anticipates the development proposal will come forward to city council in August or September depending on Canadian Horizon, Laven said.

Nathan Hildebrand, with Canadian Horizons, said they’re currently in the process of reading the comments and feedback from the most recent online public consultation, which had gathered around 300 comments.

The land was purchased back in 2006 by Canadian Horizons and in its current state with the zoning could be turned into a mobile home park without having to go through council, he said.

This project has been going on since roughly 2010, he said. In April of 2019, Canadian Horizons submitted a rezoning proposal for approximately 350 residential units ranging from large single-family lots to townhomes.

“It may have caught some people by surprised but its been talked about for the last 10 years,” he said.

Penticton has also identified that area as one for growth in its most current OCP, he said.

The developer will be going through the comments and concerns and adjusting the proposal.

Some of the concerns include traffic and density, he said.

 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 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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