Rookies trump veterans as West Kelowna’s largest ever private development inches forward - InfoNews

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Rookies trump veterans as West Kelowna’s largest ever private development inches forward

This original sketch shows Blackmun Bay resort before it was downsized slightly.It is approved to go to a public hearing.
May 14, 2019 - 5:30 PM

WEST KELOWNA - There are still way too many unanswered questions for West Kelowna City Council to fully support the massive Blackmun Bay resort development on Okanagan Lake.

But the four newcomers to council this term outvoted the three returning veterans to at least move the project forward to a public hearing.

“I think we need to carry on looking for more information and more communication with the public,” Mayor Gord Milsom told council. “As a result of getting the answers we need from the modeling that’s required for the water and the sewer and the Geotech reports and all the other reports, it will give us greater direction. It’s a matter of finding that sweet spot.”

In contrast, veteran councillors Rick de Jong and Doug Findlater said the project was just too big and voted no, along with fellow veteran Coun. Carol Zanon.

The original Blackmun Bay called for 528 units in a hotel, apartments and townhouses, reaching up to 10 storeys tall.

In January, council asked them to modify their proposal and consult the public, which they did. The latest version drops it to nine storeys and a total of 482 units.

“Overall, community members have been receptive to the proposed development as revised by the applicant since the original submission of the application,” states a document written by the developer.

But yesterday, May 13, Casa Loma Community Association President Ryan Holt told council that a survey of his members found 87 per cent were against the development.

The project is in the Casa Loma neighbourhood, along Campbell Road just south of the Bennett bridge.

Holt raised concerns yesterday about the safety of the Casa Loma water system, which is a pipe drawing water through a fish filter from Okanagan Lake and through a chlorinator. That doesn’t take out chemical contamination from runoff. He was worried the development and 241-slip marina may compromise the water system.

That raised concerns by a number of councillors who said a threat to the water system would kill the project in their minds.

One alternative is to connect to the Rose Valley water system. But it’s unclear, at this time, how much that would cost and who would pay.

That, and questions about sewer, traffic and other issues need to be studied further before the project goes to a public hearing, councillors said.

While the majority of council agreed to send it to public hearing, once further studies are done, that doesn’t mean they will pass the project in the end.

“This has my support today, but not necessarily all the way through the process, unless we can get some clear answers,” Coun. Stephen Johnston said.


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