Canadian Horizons, a Surrey developer, is applying to rezone a Spiller Road property adjacent to the Penticton landfill from Rural Residential to Urban Residential. This proposed development is 163 acres with over 300 homes planned. I have many concerns over the impact that a development of this magnitude will have on the community.
As a professional geologist for the last 46 years, I am very concerned about the terrain. The geology of this Spiller Road property is complex with a considerable number of bedrock exposures, near surface outcrops and glacial and post glacial sediments in between. These conditions can be very difficult and challenging on which to build without considerable blasting and destruction of the landscape. Blasting may also potentially open subterranean aquifers or present/reveal ground conditions making drainage systems, building foundations, roads and installation of other infrastructure difficult and expensive. In a high-density housing development, the addition of asphalt and concrete compounded by steep grades will significantly alter drainage courses. Removal and alteration of ground cover will reduce water infiltration thereby increasing the likelihood of flooding and erosion.
There is a distinct likelihood of legal ramifications for the City of Penticton if the developer’s drainage system fails. Several lawsuits are pending in the case of the Outlook and the Kettle Ridge developments on the Naramata Bench. Here the “expert” approved drainage systems were ineffective and caused severe damage to the homes and farms below the development. This will result in an incredible expense to taxpayers.
I encourage the City of Penticton Council to seriously perform their due diligence and take the lessons learned from the Outlook and Kettle Ridge Benchlands fiasco. By reason of its unique geology the upland hills to the east of Okanagan Lake are not suitable for high density urban development. The proposed land use change is not appropriate and is not in the best interest of the community or local business. We must be smart about how we develop.
Duncan McCowan, Naramata