A resident in West Kelowna has started an online petition against a proposal to build a new firehall in the Lakeview Heights neighbourhood.
In late October, the City of West Kelowna announced the current firehall along Olalla Road would be decommissioned and relocated because it had exceeded its life expectancy and wouldn’t be able accommodate the needs of the community in the future.
The online petition — which has almost 100 signatures— states the city did not consult the public about the proposed location of the firehall at 2509 and 2515 Harmon Road. The petition also states the city did not complete a traffic study and it will create more noise in the mainly residential neighbourhood.
“This was done without any prior notice or approval of the residents of our community,” said Vincenzo Zumpano, the resident who started the petition.
“For residents of our community to get approval for any new residential builds or additions requires the city and neighbourhood’s approval. In this case, the city is operating under its own agenda without any regard for the people of this community.”
Zumpano said the new firehall location will also make it more unsafe for drivers in the area.
“The firehall is being built on Stuart Road, a street that is the main access for hundreds of residents of Lakeview Heights off of the Boucherie Road/Stuart Road intersection. Is an already small and tight intersection.” said Zumpano.
Despite the opposition, Mayor Gord Milsom said in October that the new location would help the department meet the needs of the growing West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation communities moving forward.
Jason Brolund, the fire chief for West Kelowna Fire Rescue, said there were amultiple reasons why the city chose that location for the proposed fire hall.
“Property size, proximity to transportation, and availability of land were main reasons why that location was chosen. Our goal to keep the firehall centrally located in community,” said Brolund.
“We’re committed to working with local residents in the design of the project and to be good neighbours as the facility begins to operate.”
Anna Szovek, another Lakeview Resident, said she didn’t want the new firehall because it will create more noise.
“We have lived in this community for 20 years and have enjoyed our quiet, friendly neighbourhood,” said Szovek.
“City of West Kelowna, please don’t devalue our homes by putting an unwanted fire hall on our residential street.”
While detailed design of the new fire station will begin in 2020, a timeline for its construction hasn’t been determined yet by the city.