Big projects ‘dead as a doornail’

On Tuesday, Aaron Dinwoodie presented a report to Chamber of Commerce members on the development industry in West Kelowna.

On Tuesday, Aaron Dinwoodie presented a report to Chamber of Commerce members on the development industry in West Kelowna.

Dinwoodie began his presentation by illustrating how difficult it is to set up a new municipality.

He commended the District of West Kelowna for doing a good job in a few key areas.

He then listed some areas that the DWK can improve upon.

“In my opinion, I believe that too much planning was taken on in too short of a period of time. It puts staff in a very difficult position to serve many master plans at the same time and still have enough time left in the day to deal with applications coming in,” said Dinwoodie.

“I’ve spent years chairing planning committees and engineering committees.

“I’ve never seen that much planning go through the gate in that short a period of time. I think that’s really at the crux of customer service issues and the issues with respect to serving the day-to-day business that comes in.”

Dinwoodie criticized the location of DWK headquarters and noted that currently it is doing nothing to help the vitality of the town centre.

“The amount of money that you’re saving by putting the municipal hall there is costing you 20 times more than that in your image. You can’t operate out of trailers if you want to look like Mission Hill.

“One of my investors said to me, ‘If the municipal council can’t invest in the town centre, why should I?’”

On Sept. 20, Dinwoodie and Bob Fearnley presented the report to DWK council.

At the time, Coun. Duane Ophus claimed that the report was subjective.

He asked Fearnley how the DWK growth compared with other similar municipalities, in similar circumstances, across the province.

Fearnley responded by saying that the DWK growth was actually higher than some of the other municipalities.

Dinwoodie said that this response was not accurate and Fearnley regretted his answer after the meeting.

“I think he was kicking himself all the way home that he answered the question that way,” said Dinwoodie.

“He spat out a response to regional statistics. The regional statistics include everything from Peachland to Lake Country.

“You look at the region in the 2009 year, as Bob answered, this region is slightly ahead of other regions. When you subtract Westbank First Nation growth, (that’s not the case).

“The truth of the matter is the only real big projects that have happened in that period of time were the heated boat storage on the highway just as you pass Lakeview Heights and the police building.

“Other than that it’s pretty much been dead as a doornail.”

Also at the council meeting, mayor Doug Findlater mentioned that many of the issues brought up in the RJ Fearnley and Associates report were already indicated in an in-depth examination of district development processes, which was conducted by Neilson-Welch Consultants to Government.

Dinwoodie said that the Neilson-Welch report offered great suggestions and said that, if recommendations from both reports are followed, it will be greatly beneficial to all of West Kelowna.



Kelowna Capital News