Support for development

Canadian Horizons (CH) is in the final process of obtaining Penticton City Council approval for a housing project on more than 120 acres on Spiller Road. As a decades-long resident of Spiller Road and a past member of the City of Penticton Agricultural Advisory Committee I am asking City Council to support the Canadian Horizons development.

No agricultural-use designated land is being used for the CH development. This is vastly different from the proposed biosolids site on Spiller Road, which is all agricultural land- a project which I strongly oppose.

The CH site was earmarked for residential growth in the city’s Official Community Plan. This project has reconfigured itself in response to public concern for wildlife corridors and other issues, many times. The current iteration of the development would benefit the tax base and help to grow our local economy.

On June 24, 2020, I wrote a letter to the Herald where I said the CH development could be problematic. Since then, I have had meetings with CH developers, who have promised a 50-meter buffer between existing Spiller Road residences and that the development would assist in bringing water to our neighborhood. With these assurances, I am supporting the development and City Council should as well, for two reasons: firstly, the project will lessen a serious wildfire safety issue on Spiller Road, and secondly, the development will bring much needed residential housing and tax benefits to all Pentictonites.

The loss of this project would mean the loss of work that could last for several years, and the loss of a significant new tax base. The city tax loss on 300 homes per year would be enormous. To fail to support the development is to signal to all that Penticton is not a growing economy, and don’t bring your money or jobs here.

A 2013 BEHR Energy Services report outlined how the lack of fire hydrants on Spiller Road poses a serious fire safety issue. While there are 900 hydrants throughout the city, none can be found on Spiller Road, despite the numerous fires at the landfill, and the history of fires on Spiller Road. The BEHR report noted that the fire hazard around Spiller Road is “Maximum Risk, High Probability and High Consequence”.

Turning away a development that seeks to use currently unusable land to its highest and best use, would be a failure of leadership and imagination.

Steve Boultbee, Penticton

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