Bluffs project 'great' for city

The proposed expansion of Penticton's city limits near Skaha Lake is something the Wild Sheep Society of B.C. would like to see happen.

The boundary extension near the Wiltse area would add a 300-acre parcel of land that is currently privately owned and uninhabited. 

About 180 mixed-use residences would be built on part of that land, and the developer plans to formally gift 150 acres to B.C. Parks and expand Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

The Skaha Bluffs park, currently about 1,200 acres in size, is a critical habitat for bighorn sheep.

The Wild Sheep Society of B.C. has voiced their support for the proposed development and provincial park expansion.

"It’s a great opportunity for the community... This will ensure that sheep have access to this ecologically-sensitive habitat," Lisa Hettrich said, the society's executive director.

"The mission of the Wild Sheep Society is to promote and enhance wild sheep habitat throughout B.C. We believe in working together with all stakeholders on these issues."

The proposed expansion would be another victory for the bighorn sheep habitat near Skaha Lake.

In August, the Nature Trust of B.C. purchased a parcel of land more than 87 acres in size to conserve for that species and several others.

The expansion and development project that is proposed requires an alternate approval process to determine if residents support it, since it involves extending municipal boundaries.

City staff has hosted four open houses to inform the public on the plans, the last of which was hosted on Oct. 15th.

At least 10 per cent of Penticton's population would formally need to oppose the project to kill it, and residents have until Nov. 15th to fill out the paperwork if they wish to do so.

Ben Johnson, the city's special project manager, said that most concerns heard have been to do with increased traffic in that area if the development goes through, when speaking at an open house on Oct. 6th at Wiltse Elementary.

"We'll look at mitigating those as best as possible," Johnson said.

More information can be found here.

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