Despite the enticing offer of 250 acres of parkland, Kelowna city council shot down a proposal to allow a sprawling development near the city’s northern edge.
McKinley Beach was proposed and approved as a resort community mostly comprised of multi-family developments almost a decade ago.
That initial vision never came to fruition and the developer, Kinnikinnik Developments, was hoping to change course, offering the city the large chunk of parkland contingent on council’s approval of hundreds of single-family homes in the area.
After more than four hours of public input across two separate hearings, council defeated the motion with a tied vote on Tuesday night, Aug. 24. Participants told council of their concerns, mostly regarding the environmental and traffic impacts of the development.
“We know that renewal in these areas is subsidized by the rest of the city and that’s why we have an infrastructure levy on our taxes every year,” said Coun. Loyal Wooldridge, speaking in opposition of the project. “We have to do things differently and that means our behaviour has to change… Car dependency in areas like this is contributing to 60 per cent of our (greenhouse gas) GHGs and (this project is) further bolstering a car-dependant area of our community.”
Citing votes against previous single-family neighbourhoods like Thompson Flats and Diamond Mountain, Mayor Colin Basran said the city has shown its commitment to the environment. But he said there will be thousands of single-family units on the Lake Country side of the border, putting “extreme development pressure” on the vacant Mckinley land.
“I can say no and hope for the best later or make a decision now that I believe brings finality to this area and we have a clear picture of what is going to happen in perpetuity,” said the mayor.
Due to Coun. Ryan Donn’s absence, the vote ended up a 4-4 stalemate, resulting in the project being defeated. Basran and councillors Gail Given, Brad Sieben and Maxine Dehart voted in favour of the project, while councillors Wooldridge, Mohini Singh, Luke Stack and Charlie Hodge opposed it.