Owners of the property commonly referred to as Westwynd Village have three months to convince West Kelowna council they’re serious about developing Westbank Centre.
Council unanimously decided to defer the owners’ extension request for three months.
During that time, district staff will attempt to have discussions with a local contact of the Montreal-based owners, DevMcGill. To date, communication between West Kelowna and DevMcGill has been limited.
Mayor Doug Findlater said the property has often been referred to as “the biggest eyesore in the Westbank area.”
“This has been a very frustrating situation,” said Findlater.
“I’ve had one-way correspondence with the owners in Montreal—no response. Staff met with the (listing) agent, who himself is frustrated that there is no response from the owners.”
The application to rezone three adjacent pieces of property on Main Street between Elliott and Hebert Roads to a comprehensive development zone to accommodate mixed-use development was submitted July 31, 2009.
Council authorized staff to draft a zoning bylaw amendment April 13, 2010. An extension was given for that application April 19, 2011.
According to Brent Magnan, supervisor of current planning, no technical work has been completed on the property to date. A report by planning technician Darin Schaal indicated the property owners suggest there are no plans to redevelop the site to the scale of the original application due to current market conditions.
The property is currently for sale; Magnan said conversations with the listing agent have indicated there may be some interest, but that level of interest is uncertain at this point.
“It’s my opinion that this council really supports quality development. We do work with developers to ensure successful development. But in this situation, I’m really disappointed with the lack of response to our request to clean-up the site,” said Coun. Gord Milsom.
Coun. Duane Ophus noted it is unlikely that things will change in three months.
“There is no real potential, realistically, for the applicant to move this process along int he direction that’s been initiated…but we’ll give them three months to convince us otherwise,” said Ophus.
Council agreed that if progress hasn’t been made in three months, the application for an extension will likely be denied.