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Penticton  

Development worries locals

With a proposal for a large development at Twin Lakes Golf Course being brought back to the table this week, residents in the rural community are worried due to uncertainty about the water supply.

Coral Brown, chair of the Lower Nipit Improvement District who supervises water levels at Twin Lakes, said residents are concerned there may not be enough drinking water for 232 new units, as is proposed. 

"We need sustainable water... They have never proven there's sustainable water with any further development," Brown said. "It's a lot of pressure to have this constantly coming at us."

The Twin Lakes Golf Resort was first proposed 25 years ago and has been met with concerns from residents about drinking water at every step. 

On Thursday, the latest rezoning proposal will be before the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board members.

Regional district staff are recommending the board pass first and second readings towards approving phase one — which asks for 36 units to be built — and only allow future development if the groundwater is proven to be sustainable. Staff's recommendation comes despite noting there are "many unknowns related to the future build out of the Twin Lakes Golf Resort."

Brown said residents aren't in favour of the phase-in proposal of units.

"It seems like it's a stupid way to do things, to say 'let's build and see what happens.'"

The developer already has a permit from the RDOS which indicates there's enough water at Twin Lakes to support up to 50 new units for phase one. That assent was granted in 2016 after a report from Golder Associates was received.

However, Dobson Engineering critiqued the report later that year, and the written report obtained by Castanet says some of the assumptions made in Golder's study, leading to the issuance of that permit, are flawed.

"The Twin Lakes system is a very complicated, unique, closed system... There are very compelling reasons to proceed with a high degree of caution when making decisions on future development that will result in additional demands on a limited water source," the report from Dobson added.

Board members will have the option to pass first and second reading of the rezoning this week, and if so the proposal would go through a public hearing at a later date.

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