West Kelowna  

Proposed Peachland seniors' development talks moved behind closed doors

Moved behind closed doors

Peachland residents will have to wait a little longer to find out more about a planned new low-income seniors’ housing development that will require relocation of several non-profit and community amenities.

At its meeting earlier this week, district council was presented with information to bring it up to date on the proposed project’s impact on the local food bank, community police office, wellness centre and two district-owned houses as well as a community garden.

But right after the report was presented, Coun. Patrick Von Minsel moved that the issue be taken in-camera and discussed into two weeks by council behind closed doors. He said the reason for moving it in-camera was because the project developer, B.C. Housing, has information it does not want council to discuss publicly.

With no discussion, the council voted unanimously to move the issue in-camera.

Before that move, the council was told the timing of construction of what will be the second phase of a project that has already seen one five-storey seniors’ residence built—is not yet known.

The planned second five-story building is slated for district-owned land on 5th Street in the beach-front downtown area.

The district has asked that a community garden be incorporated into the new development as many of the 68 plots to be displaced are tended to by residents of the first phase of the project.

The district's director of community services, Cheryl Wiebe also reported the community policing office could move into a smaller space than it currently occupies, an office located at the local 50+ Activity Centre, which is operated by the Peachland and District Retirement Society. A deal could be made to use the centre for meetings.

She said the food bank could move into the former space of the now-closed local boxing club on 4th Street but major renovations would be required. The wellness centre could be incorporated into the new senior’s residence. However, it would require fundraising to pay for space in the new development as that would not be covered by B.C. Housing.

Residents of the two district-owned houses have both given notice and the district said depending on the timing of construction, they may be rented out again on a short-term basis.

City staff said displacement of community amenities and local non-profit group space is nothing new in Peachland and occurred when previous developments occurred, including a Habit For Humanity project and the first phase of the seniors’ development.

According to Wiebe, while the district once had space it could provide to local non-profit groups, those days are over.

“Space is at a premium in Peachland for both local government and commercial space,” she said in her presentation to the council. “Community space is limited (now) in Peachland.”

The proposed second phase of the proposed seniors' housing will feature 68 residential rental units.

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