At its Aug. 14 regular meeting, Kelowna council pulled the development permit for a 25-storey tower planned for 350 Doyle Avenue, the site of the old RCMP detachment.
After a staff report outlining concerns that several speakers at a public hearing on the project were paid a per diem for their appearance, council voted unanimously to rescind the permit.
“Two of the players (council and the public) were unaware payments were made,” said Stephen Flemming, city clerk. “The rules of the game were tilted in a way that two of the three parties were not aware.”
Council included in its decision an invitation to the developer, Appelt Properties, to reapply for a permit.
CEO Greg Appelt attended the meeting remotely.
“This has been a profoundly disappointing turn of events,” said Appelt. “It has taken considerable work and dollars to bring this project to the development permit stage.”
Appelt noted that his company has been transparent and has not hidden the per diem issue.
“We have not broken any rules or laws. Can we really pretend that students, who were paid a per diem, tainted this process?”
Appelt also said that well-funded opposition to the development was well represented at the public hearing, and cautioned council about rescinding the development permit.
“We’ll use the tools available to us to challenge this action,” he added.
At the end of his comment Appelt said he would not take any questions from council.
Mayor Tom Dyas also spoke to reporters after the meeting.
“I can say that the information we released, outlining why we had the hearing and what staff had completed today and the communications back and forth between Appelt Properties, are kind of the guiding principles of why that motion was brought forward today. The view I think we took was one that we were concerned that it was a tainted process and that’s what we voted on.”