Construction on the controversial mega-development Kelowna Mountain may grind to a halt next week as planning guidelines are finally put in place, leaving anywhere from 50 to 100 people out of work.
“Basically a new Official Community Plan supports development in Kelowna and not in the south slopes (where the project is),” said Garry Benson, on behalf of the project developer, Mark Consiglio.
“We’re considering our options …dependent on whether the regional district’s OCP in its current form is approved. But the developer had to give reasonable notice to the workers that there was a possibility they’d be laid off on the 15th.”
The game-changing plan that the regional district could put into effect next Monday, states an “intent to preserve the rural character of the south slopes.”
It’s a course that’s clearly at odds with the mammoth recreational and commercial project that’s been growing steadily on 640 acres of land in in the Upper Mission. While plans for a complementary housing development are still in the offing, the amenities package is well underway.
To date, said Benson, contractors have built three of four suspension bridges, walkways along the cliffs, ski runs, ski towers for the lifts have been installed and cable has been run between them.
Construction has also commenced on the vineyard and roadways are partially built.
Despite the flurry of construction, the regional district has repeatedly gone on the record with their concerns about the development in the past. Its environmental impact is an issue of particular concern.
That said, Benson explained the developer wasn’t required to work with that body of government until recently, as there was no planning bylaw in place.
“The developers have been doing work under provincial legislation,” he said. “Right now the project is meeting the requirements of the provincial government. We have not received any correspondence from the regional district that there would be a grandfathering (of provincial licences).”
Conversely, the regional district has also not been a recipient of any proposals outlining the the developer’s intent as the planning bylaw was composed.
“As previously reported to the board, the Kelowna Mountain lands were not given any specific land use considerations during development of the South Slopes OCP, as the landowner did not participate in the consultation process, nor did they provide the regional district with any indication of their comprehensive plans for the properties until the final draft of the OCP was in the process of being presented to the board for consideration of reading,” reads a report from Ron Fralick, of the regional district.
Fralick went on to say that if the OCP is adopted, the project will be subject to
a series of reports and studies.
Once everything from storm drainage to traffic impacts have been studied, on the dime of the developer, an amendment to the plan could be granted.