Why you can't build a mall on West Kelowna's old garbage dump | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why you can't build a mall on West Kelowna's old garbage dump

The Westside Transfer Station is not available for commercial development.
Image Credit: Submitted/Regional District of the Central Okanagan
January 21, 2020 - 7:00 PM

A 25-year moratorium has been placed on commercial development taking place on a 14-hectare (36-acre) chunk of land near Shannon Lake in West Kelowna.

Currently being used as the Westside Transfer Station, the land on Asquith Road is actually owned by the provincial government but was run by the regional district as a landfill site up until it was shut down in 2010. The regional district still operates the transfer station and maintains the former dump site.

“There’s been some ideas that were floated around (for future use of the land)” David Komaike, director of engineering services for the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, told iNFOnews.ca. “The board just wanted to make it clear to everybody that we’re not ready to entertain any development proposals for this site.”

It’s not that the regional district was flooded with development proposals but they were approached from time to time.

And, if the land is considered suitable for commercial use, its value would go up, which could affect the minimal amount the regional district pays to lease the land or the future purchase price if the province is willing to sell.

The regional district has a say in what happens to the land because it’s responsible for solid waste disposal throughout the region. In this case, residents from Peachland, Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna make use of the transfer station.

While a news release states the moratorium forbids commercial development, Komaike said it, essentially, means no development at all.

The release also says the moratorium is for 25 years but the actual effective date is still being debated.

Provincial rules require landfills to be closed for 25 years before there can be any development on them. While this one stopped taking garbage in 2010, it wasn't officially closed until 2019. The moratorium, therefore, runs through to 2044.

Komaike is arguing the province should use the 2010 date. If the province agrees, the length of the moratorium will be taken back to the board for reconsideration.

The site is more likely to be used as a park or for playing fields than commercial or residential development, Komaike said.

He estimated that four ball diamonds could fit in the developable part of the land while a climb up the hill on the site offers spectacular views of Okanagan Lake.

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.

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