Opposed to six storeys

Penticton’s Official Community Plan task force recommendation to allow greater building heights on the residential part of Lakeshore Drive West, up to six storeys, is regrettable.

The existing OCP site-specific policy, which limits heights there storeys, was implemented because of its importance in preserving the spacious feel and ambiance of the immediate beachfront area, which is enormously popular with both residents and tourists.

A new four-storey luxury condo building, which includes additional large “rooftop appurtenances,” now under construction at 602 Lakeshore, definitely underscores the importance of that site-specific policy, which was summarily dismissed by the narrow majority of city councillors who voted to approve that controversial project.

City council, city staff, and residents would be well advised to examine 602 Lakeshore and imagine it with two additional storeys (and likely the same rooftop amenities), injecting itself into the skyline.

Are six storey buildings what we want to see when nearby residences there are sold and re-developed? I think not.

Unfortunately, Question 2 on the Shape Your City Housing Policy updates feedback form avoids the height controversy and mentions only the prospect of increased setbacks for Lakeshore.

Increased setbacks are certainly welcome, however, the height issue is of equal or greater importance given public hearings will no longer be held for projects which fit into the task force’s proposed OCP changes.

Any proposed redevelopment of Penticton’s Okanagan Lake beachfront area should consider the fact we’re preparing to cram more and more families into housing projects offering less and less green-space. The beach area and walkway have only a scant area of park and picnic space and will likely see vastly increased use in future.

Once the spacious ambiance of that area is gone, how will we ever get it back?

Residents accept change when it’s properly thought out and presented. However, Premier David Eby’s new, “one size fits all” land use edicts, delivered with zero consultation with municipalities, should not be used as a rationale to preclude Penticton’s well-crafted, site-specific, lower height policy for protecting Lakeshore Drive.

Like other BC municipalities with recently completed future growth community plans, Penticton should be pushing back.

Loraine Stephanson, Penticton

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