'It's just too big'

The developers behind a proposed 350 unit seniors housing project were in Summerland Tuesday, trying to convince a skeptical neighbourhood their project is right for the community.

The $125M project would bring about $400,000 in property tax revenue and 75  to 100 jobs to the district, but many are opposed to the idea, citing everything from increased traffic, to blocked views and a placement too far from the downtown.

Kirk Fisher, Senior Vice President of the Lark Group, says they have developed 18 similar facilities, many which were initially opposed.

“Of course the first issue is change in a neighbourhood, and the next one is just lack of information and what’s really going to happen. And what we found, is that once people have an awareness of exactly what is happening and they see the value to the community, they do support it.”

The Lark Group came armed with pamphlets addressing nearly every concern raised by the public during their last open house, however with attendance quite a bit lower than expected on Tuesday, they still have plenty more people to reach.

The facility will aim to offer different levels of care ranging from market level seniors housing right up to dementia and complex care. That’s something that appealed at the session, but most of the people Castanet News spoke to thought overall, the project was still just too big.

Fisher says the District of Summerland has made sure they have done their homework to make sure it’s a good fit, noting there is a massive appetite for seniors housing in Summerland.

“We have to do traffic studies, we have to do a hydrological study… all those studies, required by the city  are confirmed or are in place or they don’t let you move forward.”

The project has only passed first reading at Summerland Council, with several more developer and district held info sessions to go. If all goes well, Fisher says they are aiming to have shovels in the ground in the early spring.


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