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Letters  

Heritage area in danger

The Abbott Street Heritage Conservation Area is in jeopardy due to Kelowna city council’s decision at the Oct. 22 public hearing to support Davara Holdings’ application for a heritage revitalization agreement.

The agreement will allow Davara to take the Murchison House and move it, rotate it, change it, make it 100% commercial, and construct two three-bedroom modern units, all under the guise of an HRA. No rezoning is required. 

Davara knew it was buying a residential home in the conservation area, which is zoned RU1, but proceeded anyway. Although the project broke every rule, the mayor and five members of council chose to ignore the evidence and support it. To their credit, councillors Hodge, Sieben, and Donn were opposed.

This project jeopardizes the AHCA as it ignores the rules, regulations, and guidelines in place to protect the area. It is a flagrant abuse of a heritage revitalization agreement.

Despite 66 letters written in opposition and presentations at the public hearing by local residents and the presidents of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society, the Historical Society and the Kelowna South Central Association of Neighbourhoods, the majority of council chose to hear only developer Dave Sargent and his team.

Why has Davara been allowed to break all the rules? All the developer has to do in the future to make further changes to this project is to apply for a heritage alteration permit. What is going on here? This is a slippery slope to convert heritage houses in the Heritage Conservation Area to commercial and undo all of the good work, joy, and protection that has gone into preserving this small, well known gem in Kelowna.

How will the city say no to the next, and next, and next application to convert heritage homes to commercial and allow inappropriate infill and undo our AHCA? Heads up, Kelowna! 

Erica Bell-Lowther,

Kelowna South-Central Association of Neighbourhoods



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