City recommendation stinks says Kelowna developer

Troika Developments upset about city’s about-face on support of its Diamond Mountain project

The operation of Kelowna’s Glenmore landfill is being called into question in light of city staff using it to justify a recommendation that a large housing development not be built nearby.

City staff say council should not approve an area structure plan for the Diamond Mountain development because a city-commissioned report says odour and dust from the dump could affect the proposed 1,000-home development immediately to the south, if the landfill remains operating as it is now.

The consultant’s report also shows it could adversely affect other developments in the area, including at nearby UBC Okanagan, the Kelowna airport and the Quail Ridge, McKinley Landing and Wilden developments.

“We are concerned about the potential impact of the report’s findings on our campus and on future housing development in the surrounding area,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal of UBC Okanagan.

“We believe affordable, mixed housing development in proximity to the campus is in the interest of the community.”

City staff say Diamond Mountain residences would be negatively impacted by the landfill’s operation, including dust, odour, noise and the landfill’s composting operations.

But the CEO of Troika Developments, the company planning to build Diamond Mountain, said that interpretation of the consultant’s report is only one view.

“What we’re hearing is two different interpretations of the same study,” says Wasylyk. “One interpretation is that there won’t be any additional impact for 100 years, and the other is that the additional impact is significant enough to prevent or at least alter development at Diamond Mountain and the rest of the Glenmore community.”

Wasylyk said an opposite view was used to approve a revised fill plan at the landfill last year. Then it was felt development of the 88-hectare Diamond Mountain site would be the least affected area by the dump.

And she noted the city had supported the project up to now.

The consultant’s report is based on the premise that the current landfill operations will remain unchanged for the next 50 years. Wasylyk said that’s not realistic.

And she said while the operation agreement for the landfill requires it to mitigate any nuisance it creates within its own site, it is not doing that.

The current zoning for the hilly Diamond Mountain site is agricultural and it would allow 17 large-lot homes on the property. Those would be expensive, large homes, said Wasylyk, only available to the wealthy. Her development, she said, is aimed at providing a mix of family homes, as well as parks and trails.

The land in question is now classified by the city in its Official Community Plan as “future urban reserve,” in other words, land where housing is expected in the future.

Troika says it believes the site is completely safe for residents.

At Monday’s afternoon’s council meeting, council will be asked to decide what to do.

As part of the report recommending the development not proceed, city staff say they are concerned future residents will try and have the landfill closed down well in advance of its planned life after they move in and find the nuisances from the dump adversely affect them.

The city’s landfill is the last remaining one in the Central Okanagan.

In the past, the city has boasted about how well it is operated and how little odour it produces.

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