Sunset Ranch development to move ahead with strict environmental conditions

Strict conditions for builder

The company developing the residential community around Sunset Ranch Golf Course will have to compensate the regional district for environmental damage caused a year ago at the site.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan placed a stop-work order on construction of phases four and six of the development in May of last year after an inspection of the site found substantial and irreparable damage had occurred.

“Upon monitoring, reporting and staff inspection, it was noted that all of the intended non-disturbance zones for environmental protection had been encroached upon by May of 2023,” said RDCO environmental planner Jing Niu.

“Furthermore, Sunset Park, an undeveloped East Electoral Area community park had been encroached upon with fill material deposited along the park boundaries. This has impacted the existing slope, buried vegetation and altered drainage along park boundaries.”

New proposal

Following meetings with district staff, the developer brought an updated development permit application for the regional board to review Thursday.

Niu says the application is similar to the previous permit in so much that it includes 96 bare land residential strata units.

It also includes provisions to complete restoration work on the portions of key disturbed areas and complete a covenant to protect environmental areas moving forward.

“Specifically, the proponent is proposing to provide land contributions to the regional district of key remaining intact natural areas as compensation for environmental damages caused to date,” says Niu.

“Support is dependent on conditions being met prior to and during the permitting and development process.”

Developers taking advantage

Director Luke Stack, sitting in his first meeting since being reappointed to the board, says he’s troubled that developers are taking advantage of development permits by doing things they shouldn’t be.

“I applaud staff for putting a stop-work order on this and bringing the development team back to the table to act responsibly,” says Stack.

“I think there is a very good outcome here. I am hoping going forward that we can take a tough line on those who feel because they are not in a major centre that they can get away with doing whatever they want.”

Director Loyal Wooldridge says this should be a reminder as to why the board needs to be mindful of growth in rural areas and need to always be monitoring.

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