Vernon council heaps praise on planned waterfront resort

Resort plan praised

A resort development proposed on the Vernon shore of Okanagan Lake that includes a hotel, homes, businesses, and a conference centre has received an enthusiastic response from Vernon council.

“At first sight, I thought this is really a dream come true,” Coun. Teresa Durning said Monday.

The Port Okanagan project by Avillia Developments is planned for a property at the corner of Okanagan Landing and Lakeshore roads. Along with the buildings, the proposal would also include park space and improved public waterfront access while also protecting a sensitive wetland area.

Council voted unanimously to support the project in principle.

Councillors also advanced the application, which requires multiple amendments to the Official Community Plan, to the next stages: a public open house followed by a public hearing.

“I think it’s going to transform not only Kin Beach, and turn it into the sort of attraction that it should be, but the convention centre will make Vernon a destination in and of itself,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.

The properties cover an area of over six hectares. The community would consist of a mix of low-rise to mid-rise buildings, up to 10 storeys in height, with underground as well as at-grade parking.

The site includes a high-value wetland habitat and a sensitive ecosystem, as well as the foreshore of Okanagan Lake, a report to council notes.

An environmental assessment lays out appropriate streamside protection and enhancement areas and would require Department of Fisheries and Oceans authorization for works that may impact fish habitat.

A flood hazard assessment report will also be required.

“It looks like this will really open up the waterfront and make Vernon a destination,” said Coun. Akbal Mund.

Coun. Kari Gares noted the conference centre included in the plan was part of late Coun. Dalvir Nahal’s vision for the city. She died last year after a lengthy battle with cancer.

In a letter to council, Avillia president Patrick Shaver said the company has been working on the environmental, technical, and design process for almost three years.

“This village will provide for a great sense of community, a gathering place, and an exciting development in Vernon by creating a vibrant destination that we believe will be frequented by residents and visitors alike,” he wrote.

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