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Letters  

Penticton rezoning eyed

Re. Controversial Naramata Bench project getting second chance at public approval (Castanet, May 17)

Smoke and mirrors would best describe Canadian Horizons’ revised plans to develop 1050 Spiller Road (in Penticton).

During the recent Penticton city council meeting, staff recommended council commence “public engagement” for a proposed amendment to the Official Community Plan (OCP) from the following designations, rural residential, detached residential, ground oriented residential, parks, natural and conservation areas and landfill and landfill buffer to rural residential, parks, natural and conservation areas and landfill and landfill buffer.

In other words, Canadian Horizons’ is seeking an amendment to change the density from single lots, duplexes, fourplexes and townhouses to single family housing on half-acre to 1.5-acre lot sizes.

What was missing from the presentation was the simple fact that although the developer wants to decrease density by removing townhouses, duplexes etc., (the) rural residential (designation) currently supports lots (with a minimum size of) one hectare (2.5 acres).

For a developer to (provide) half-acre to 1.5-acre lots, the OCP designation of rural residential will not apply. However, we were later informed about a new draft zoning proposal called “country residential cluster” that will conveniently allow for half-acre lot sizes.

How this applies to the developer’s request for rural residential designation on the property remains a mystery.

The Naramata Bench is frequently referred to as the “jewel” of Penticton. As (residents) of this beautiful valley, we need to be cautious about how we develop this area of the city. Do we want trees clear-cut, the landscape bulldozed and the wildlife destroyed in order to accommodate 112 luxury homes clustered together on half-acre lots, with the potential for as many carriage houses?

How will this affect the landfill, the environment, traffic, tourism, agriculture and the wine industry?

In a time of a climate emergency, there is an urgent need to take a stand to preserve the hillsides above the Naramata Bench. It is imperative that we make the zoning designation rural residential, with a minimum 2.5-acre lot size, along with a 500-metre landfill buffer, parks, natural and conservation areas.

Don’t let Canadian Horizons use smoke and mirrors to make us think it wants to decrease density when, in fact, it will be significantly increased through its proposed country residential cluster zoning.

Now that city council has approved a period for public engagement, it is vital for all of us to look beyond the rhetoric and ensure sustainability of the natural landscape at 1050 Spiller Road.

Rita Laven, Penticton



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