To the editor:
I am appalled at the District of West Kelowna council, which this week made a huge mistake by approving a rezoning request by a four-to-three vote by an applicant of Inverness Road.
This will now allow owners to sub-divide a five-acre vineyard into a multi-family compact housing with the potential of 27 to 40 homes. Our neighbourhood has been against this for the year that this rezoning has been in the system. We have submitted petitions, numerous letters and voiced our concerns at public meetings.
Our concern is that this property is at the end of a dead-end road. We live by Powers Creek/Glen Canyon Park which in the summer is considered a very high fire risk area with a great deal of natural fuel accumulation. Our nearest exit is Scottstown Road, so in the event of a fire or any other disaster we will have a hard time getting out of here as proven in the Glenrosa Fire. Emergency vehicles would have a difficult time already getting in to help because of the existing traffic we have now.
Adding 27 to 40 more homes (which by the way is more than the current number of homes that already exist here) would potentially add another 60+ cars trying to get out of this area in the event of another evacuation similar to what occurred during the Glenrosa fire in 2009 which could bring about a tragic disaster. There is currently no alternative route for families to get out. Obviously, the council is not going to take any responsibility for loss of life because the escape routes are clogged with traffic.
It was sad to see that the biggest concern for most of our council members was how they could best label the “donation” of $45,000 from the landowners. This money really isn’t going to help much going toward our community but it certainly helped close the deal for these owners who stand to make quite a profit from sub-dividing this land.
Nothing has ever been discussed on the impact of adding high-density homes into a existing neighbourhood of a more rural area. There are several families that live at the end of this dead-end road, whose quite, existing neighbourhood will be radically changed. Despite this the council still passed this rezoning application against the protests of the existing families who live here.
Who is it who pays council members’ wages and puts them in office? Who is council supposed to represent? How can a whole neighbourhood be against this development but council sides with the two owners who want this development? Must the neighbours match, or better, the donation to the municpality to get council on their side?
The council should go out of its way not to mix different zoning types in the same neighbourhood.
To mix compact housing into to a neighbourhood of rural, single-family dwellings is just not right and is compromising the quality of life of people who are comfortable in the area they picked to live. If council takes a stand like this and gets away with it, this could set a precedence that could effect any area within the District of West Kelowna.
Lynne Gledhill, Westbank