Last March Kelowna city council rejected a plan to develop 182 acres of land near its Glenmore landfill with up to 1,000 homes, saying it wanted to protect Central Okanagan’s only dump from future complaints about its operation.
Nine months later, it has been revealed the city quietly bought the property for $11.9 million.
According to city real estate manager Johannes Saufferer, the city was approached by the owners of the land late last year and concluded the deal. The money used to buy the property is coming from the city’s landfill reserve and not taxation, so it will not impact the bottom line of the recently approved provisional 2019 budget.
The land was wanted for the site of the proposed Diamond Mountain development, a planned community that would have featured a mix of single and multi-family housing types, as well as parks and trails.
In addition to the city’s opposition because of concern about possible future complaints about the landfill operation, there was also opposition expressed from many area residents who felt the addition of up to 1,000 new homes in the area was too much.
Saufferer says the land it has bought will be used as a buffer for the landfill and there are no plans to use it for anything else at this time
He said the city wanted the land to ensure new neighbours do not move in and complain about landfill operations, dust, noise and odour emanating from the facility. The landfill is the only operation of its type in the Central Okanagan and is expected to continue at its current location for the next 75 years.
Calling it a “wise” investment by the city, Saufferer said the additional buffer around the landfill was considered a strategic purchase. The city also owns other land surrounding the landfill that is also used as a buffer between the operation and nearby houses.
At the time of council’s 5-2 vote against supporting Troika Developments plan to build Diamond Mountain in March, city staff opposed the proposal and council went with its recommendation.
“Putting people in a sea of nuisances is, in my opinion, not good planning,” said Mayor Colin Basran at the time.
In presenting the city staff position, city engineer Kevin Van Vliet said despite the fact the landfill is well run and meets all provincial standards, it is not the type of operation that should be located beside a residential development.
He described the landfill as not the best neighbour because of the nuisances it produces, all inherent with dealing with the city’s solid waste.
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