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LETTER: Questions raised about City of Kelowna purchase of Diamond Mountain lands

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January 17, 2019 - 10:21 AM

 


OPINION


Editor,

RE: Kelowna spends millions to keep development away from garbage dump

Kelowna frequently states that the city is underfunded. Hence the large increases in property taxes and the huge backlog of unstarted or uncompleted city projects.

It seems strange then that the city should spend $11.9 million of our money for land that we don't need, that they won't even allow citizens to use.

Renee Wasylyk, CEO of Troika Developments, is a close personal friend of our mayor Colin Basran. Troika planned to convert low-value land next to our city dump into much more valuable land by building a large subdivision on it. City council disallowed that scheme last year because of concerns that future homeowners would complain about dump operations, which are scheduled to continue for several more decades.

After that city decision Troika announced that they were instead going to proceed with an already-approved plan for estate homes on that Diamond Mountain site. Months later, after a slowdown in Kelowna real estate sales, Troika changed their mind and instead requested that the city buy their land.

Now, a huge pile of scarce taxpayer money is being spent on buying the Troika consortium's land, for more than the assessed value. Kelowna hasn't needed to own that land for the 53 years that the landfill has existed. Now that the mayor's friend wants to unload it, apparently we do need it and we need to pay more than it's worth!

The next time that the city refuses to build a promised community project in your neighbourhood claiming "a lack of funds", keep this travesty in mind.

Al Janusas
Kelowna


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