Letter: West Kelowna high-rise project denounced

Density development not welcome in Lakeview Heights

To the editor:

I am writing to express my concern over the proposed high density development in Lakeview Heights.

The architect for this proposed 10-storey tower Ollala Road development in Lakeview Heights has clarified the developer’s view of the Lakeview Heights and the new development in a document.

It paints Lakeview as a poor, community languishing without the benefits of modern developments. I quote from the document: “Sadly, this community has not evolved, or flourished as it should be.” This, of course, is insulting.

If this were so, then why does the area have one of the highest average house prices in the Okanagan? The developer and his architect should accept that this community has indeed been evolving over the years.

As a result, our properties remain desirable, developers visions have come and gone. Been accepted and turned away.

This developer just does not understand Lakeview Heights is not the Lower Mainland; residents choose to purchase and invest their money here because of the present community qualities.

The architect has not tried to understand our community, instead pushing their view of what Lakeview Heights should be in spite of our own opinions, needs or desires.

His entire proposed approach to development will change the “open feel” of our community and is over development of this former school property.

If we go back five years and look at the services we had before the Lakeview Heights Village Shopping centre was reconstructed, our shopping center had a baker, deli, pharmacist, grocer, an accountant’s office, restaurant, hairdresser, a seamstress, medical services and apartments.

Our shopping centre small businesses have arguably lost to the mayor’s “for the greater good” development justification. As a community, we have gained two very nice modern buildings, a pizza place and a liquor store and we are waiting (and waiting) for the completion of the promises made by the mayor and the developer.

So far, this development has brought us nothing but the past three years of disruption, property damage, an unfinished project and no real improvement in our daily lives.

Of course, I wish the new Village Shopping Centre will one day provide more services to the community but only economic viability, compatibility and feasibility can bring that.

That, Mr. Mayor, is why this new high density development proposal must be considered with a clear understanding of “for the greater good.”

The money towards a new firehall is a corrupting gift. The high price? The allowance of a 10-storey residential tower and the scramble to find the funds to complete the building.

Quoting again from the document: “The concept of height should not be looked upon as something negative, oppositional or confrontational. In fact, quite the opposite! It should be celebrated and enjoyed.”

This is just the developer foisting his views on us. My neighbours do not agree with this lunacy and we will take the opportunity at the public hearing in late June to express our views.

I believe that nothing is better for a community than development in a manner that is productive and constructive— recognizes, utilizes, and enhances people’s strengths.

I doubt that anyone in Lakeview Heights will ever say, “Wow, those nice new four, six, 10- storey buildings on Ollala sure has made Lakeview Heights a better place to invest in.”

Sherrie Cannell, West Kelowna

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