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West Kelowna residents voice opposition to ambitious spa resort plans

The Baden Spa is proposed to feature a 188-unit hotel and cabins
A concept rendering showing a map of the proposed spa resort. (City of West Kelowna)

A spa resort proposed for a vacant hilltop in West Kelowna has been met with some resistance from residents.

The proposal for Baden Spa was first heard in council in June this year. It then went through to the city’s agricultural advisory committee for a review at the end of August.

The proposal will now be coming back to council for a second reading. It hadn’t seen much resistance within the city’s planning department but some residents are voicing their concerns about the development.

Resident Tom Groat launched a petition in July, urging the city to think about the repercussions if the proposal went ahead.

“We want what you want: a thriving, healthy city that is well-planned ensuring livability for today and for the long term,” Groat wrote in the petition.

“A hotel project in any established residential neighbourhood is not the best interest of its residents nor the city.”

The proposed spa is for the vacant land adjacent to Shannon Lake Road and Shannon View Drive, where a residential complex was supposed to be developed The Baden Spa developers are now applying to amend the zoning from residential development to a commercial development.

Baden Spa is proposed to have a 188-unit hotel as well as ten two-bedroom cabins. There will be a bistro/restaurant, a silent spa, a regular spa, treatment rooms, and staff housing. In all, it will be a huge undertaking.

In the petition, Groat said that amending the zoning bylaw for the area is a “deviation from the City of West Kelowna’s (Official Community Plan)” and that “the characteristic and aesthetic integrity of all residential neighbourhoods needs to be respected”.

“Reducing residential zoning while there is a shortage of affordable housing is not in our city’s best interest,” he wrote.

All of that said, however, Groat said a commercial development is beneficial to the city by way of economic growth, tourism, and job creation, but it seems that the community’s concerns outweigh the value of having the spa’s application go through.

Other concerns listed in the petition include the future demand on infrastructure once the spa resort is in operation, how it won’t visually match with the rest of the neighbourhood and inadequate parking.

To read or sign the petition, visit this website.

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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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