Letter to the editor

Letter: Mission development turning into urban ghetto

Kelowna writer says too much density is a bad thing when it comes to new development

To the editor:

We moved to Kelowna four years ago after spending almost two decades in Europe. I am a pilot and my job is truly global. We had the opportunity to live anywhere on the planet but we chose Kelowna due to its very good reputation as a city that was big enough to provide all the necessities and comforts of modern life but small enough to raise our two boys in a safe environment.

Coming back to Canada was a hard decision due to the inevitable set back in my chosen career but it was balanced out by the much brighter future for our sons. We raise them to what I think are true Canadian values, to be honest and productive members of society and to treat everyone in the same way that they would like to be treated themselves.

I never expected to run into the same questionable dealings that I saw in the former east bloc countries, here in Canada.

The proposed new phase in the Green Square development is insane. First, we were assured that the developer was planning a development that was eco-friendly with lots of natural spaces and greenery. We accepted that there would be some additional development to fill in the rest of the construction site but never imagined that the density of the development would be pushing legal limits. The initial proposal that the developer was outlining for us involved additional townhouses and/or low rise condominium buildings that would fit in with the local neighbourhood. The current proposal is totally unacceptable. If we were made aware of the developer’s intention to push legal limits on density and to build these monstrosities in the future, rest assured we would not have bought our townhouse.

It is totally immoral to lower property values in the neighbourhood by building the equivalent of an urban ghetto. Putting so many people in such a small area by going ‘vertical’ still doesn’t solve the infrastructure issues. Parking, or lack thereof is an ongoing issue. We have three visitor parking spaces for dozens of units. Homeowners on adjacent streets are in an uproar due to the huge increase in local traffic and parking issues. Fire safety is an issue as we saw first hand by the meltdown of the two Water Edge buildings this summer. How close together will these wooden structures be? Why is it that the current owners in the Greensquare development are not informed about the developer’s plans but have to read about them in the Vancouver Sun? Are the prospective new owners informed about the lack of spaces in the local schools and is the city ready to hire more law enforcement officers? Is the almighty dollar blinding everyone so they can’t see how quality of life will suffer greatly under the ‘new’ Greensquare development proposal? Perhaps revisiting the origins of the Jane/Finch corridor in Toronto may serve as a wake up call.

My wife attended a meeting July 12th with the Troika developer representatives regarding the development and was promised that all of the above questions would be answered by an email. So far, weeks later, no answer came from Troika. Also, one of the major issues that we had since we bought our townhouse unit, was the driveway. For two years, no progress on the issue of driving on mud to access our units. With the next phase of development upon us, the driveway was quickly repaired with artificial turf. Along with the promised parking spots available during the reconstruction of the driveway, another broken promise was the lifetime warranty on the driveway turf that was reduced to 15 years.

We are not opposed to any more reasonable development in the area. We would like the council and the developer to agree on providing more safety and infrastructure such as parks and parking along with reduced vertical development and less population density of the new phase of Green Square development. Troika representatives mentioned that we could always sell our home and move some place else, but we consider Kelowna-Lower Mission our home and we hope the future for our children is here.

Joe and Marketa Kraus, Kelowna