West Kelowna church expansion a no-go

The developer pulled the application to expand Evangel Baptist Church

A West Kelowna church’s plan to build might not move forward after all, as the developer for the 1080 Devon Road property pulled the application.

Now, city staff are recommending that council rescind the first readings of amendments to the Official Community Plan and the zoning bylaw in order to close the file and abandon it.

Evangel Baptist Church’s plan to build on the site raised some concerns, as area residents indicated they weren’t consulted about the development. Some residents were concerned about wildlife habitat in the area that could be disturbed if the expansion went ahead, with the main concern being habitat for the western painted turtle.

Western painted turtles are an at-risk species, with the Okanagan population seeing an increase in vehicular deaths this year. The deaths have been so prominent this year that the City of West Kelowna is in the process of installing trail cams along Westlake Road to monitor turtle behaviour and figure out how to help them cross the road safely.

Residents even put together a petition asking the city not to move forward with the church’s application, which garnered over 2,600 signatures.

The church initially applied for a 6,000 square feet expansion, including a 55-stall parking lot and a driveway that will access Westlake Road.

During the June 23 council meeting, Counc. Doug Findlater said the turtle habitat in the area has long been a unique feature in the area.

“You’ve got two ponds at each end of the road, and I guess they migrate back and forth and they get squished if they get on the road,” he said.

“(Addressing it) will make a lot of people a bit happy that they’re not seeing carnage there.”

Council asked the developer to engage with the community and let residents know what to expect with the proposed expansion. Council also requested for more information regarding the development then.

Council will make the final decision on Tuesday night (July 28) during the meeting.

READ: ‘Give turtles a brake’: Conservation group asking motorists to slow down

READ: Westbank First Nation’s museum doing well despite increasing COVID-19 cases


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

City of West Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also reported another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Kelowna’s Fall Activity Guide now available online

COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols will be in place at all times to ensure the health and safety of all participants

Wildfire sparked at Stuart Creek near Westside Road

An air tanker has been requested, according to BC Wildfire

UPDATE: House fire spreads to bush off Westside

Small blaze burning near Vernon in Six Mile area

Petition calls on Central Okanagan School District to make masks mandatory

“If masks do not become mandatory in schools, children will get sick” - Sorsha Perry

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read