West Kelowna  

Cops called to council

RCMP had to be called in to break up an overflow crowd at Tuesday night's Peachland council meeting.

Police were called in after the overflow crowd refused to lessen their numbers after being ordered to do so by the fire chief.

Peachland CEO Elsie Lemke says seating capacity in council chambers is 74. About 90 people pushed their way in, prompting a demand that 16 people vacate the room.

"The room was over capacity, and the fire chief had to ask people to leave and go into another room we had set up so people could watch and listen to the council meeting. People were refusing to leave, which creates a dangerous situation to all people involved," said Lemke.

"So, we had to contact the RCMP. By the time the RCMP got there, we did have people co-operating and moving on to the next room."

The issue that attracted the crowd was an amendment to the municipality's Official Community Plan that would allow for five-storey development downtown on Beach Avenue.

The current OCP suggests buildings of only three storeys, prompting opponents to go to court to get the project scaled back.

Lemke said the packed chamber did get at bit noisy, but participants were "trying" to be respectful of the process.

The OCP amendment passed first and second readings by a 5-0 margin. One councillor was away, while Coun. Terry Condon removed himself due to a conflict of interest.

Condon has thrown his support behind Friends of Beach Avenue, the group protesting the size of the development. His support included a $20 financial contribution.

He told Castanet he fails to see where he receives any personal benefit other than as a member of the community at large, but said the issue had been raised by both the mayor and administration.

"I was persuaded to go on record with a conflict of non-pecuniary interest, and let the process move on," said Condon.

The OCP amendment will now go to a full public hearing Jan. 30 at the Community Centre gym.

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