Health, safety and environmental concerns have derailed a multi-family development proposed for an Upper Mission neighbourhood.
Developers were hoping to build 30 duplex units and a single-family home on property at 949 Hewetson Court, near Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park.
The Hewetson Residents Group provided a 300-name petition and 48 pages of documentation to council in opposition to the project at a Feb. 14 public hearing.
“Believe me I know how this looks,” said Ryan Archambault, spokesperson. “As Kelowna continues to experience massive population growth and an associated housing supply deficit you can almost hear the chants from the residential hubs ‘not in my backyard.’ This is not that group.”
Other neighbours felt the area is not designed to handle the addition of multi-family development.
“It’s steep, unstable, rocky and at the top of a mountain, and as by the developers own geotechnical report identified as being susceptible to landslides,” said one resident.
In 2021, the backyard of a home on Clarance Avenue, two blocks away, slide down onto Lakecrest Court. Blasting was being done in the area at the time.
Another Hewetson Court resident, who is a lung cancer oncologist, raised concerns over the potential for increased levels of radon gas in area homes from blasting if the development moved forward.
“I’m concerned about my health and my neighbours’ health, and most importantly I’m concerned about my family’s health.”
Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer.
City of Kelowna Community and Planning Development Manger Dean Strachan noted that blasting work is provincially regulated and that radon is an issue.
“BC building code has requirements for new homes to be constructed to protect the residents of those homes,” he added.
Area residents also voiced concern about possible damage to their homes from blasting, the configuration of area roads and the impact of increased traffic. Several councillors said they drove the neighbourhood and commented on how narrow the roads are.
Coun. Gord Lovegrove added a hillside development can be a potential horror show.
“There are switchbacks, there are hills, parks without enough parking, kids playing the streets, and slope stability issues, that’s the big one for me.”
Many residents said they could accept a single-family development, which is what the property is currently zoned for.
Council voted against giving a second and third reading to rezone property, with councillors Loyal Wooldridge and Luke Stack the only ones to vote in favour.
“I think it’s very consistent with what was always anticipated on this lot, some sort of cluster housing,” said Stack.
Mayor Tom Dyas recused himself from discussion and the vote citing a conflict of interest, as an architect on the project was a client in his previous business.