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West Kelowna council approves Sol Aqua with conditions

This is a good, well-balanced way to move forward: Mayor
Conceptual rendering os Sol Aqua development. (Photo/Sol Aqua Townhomes)

The Sol Aqua development proposed for Campbell Road is almost a done deal.

West Kelowna council gave third reading to residential and water use bylaws amendments and support to ALR non-farm use for access to the marina facility which is part of the project. The amendments were detailed under Option 1 of four options presented by city staff. Option 2 contained the same amendments, except that it did not support the non-farm use. The vote was unanimous for Option 1.

Conditions include a maximum of 60 townhomes, restricting the development pending completion of a second emergency exit route and fire mitigation measures, and that traffic and pedestrian improvements along Campbell Road be identified and completed. Mayor Gordon Milsom said he was pleased to see the restrictions as recommended by staff.

“I am in favour of the low-density multi-family land use designation,” said Mayor Gordon Milsom. “I believe that duplexes and townhouses would suitable for this neighbourhood, just as it’s suitable for many other neighbourhoods throughout the city of West Kelowna. We need more housing supply. More supply leads to more housing options which will eventually provide more attainable housing.”

While he did vote for Option 1, Councillor Doug Findlater said he was in favour of Option 2, citing concerns over the marina and non-farm aspects of the project.

“I’d like to take a more minimalist approach and leave the marina alone,” explained Findlater. “We actually heard a disproportionate amount of unhappiness about the marina at the public hearing regarding water quality, noise and nuisance issues.”

Findlater pointed out that the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) will have the final say regarding the non-farm use component.

“They count votes on these things and I’d like them to have a clear choice so they can use their technical know-how rather than their political sense.”

Councillor Jayson Zilkie noted the project has been substantially scaled back several times from its original proposal.

“It is part of being in a city people want to live in, and with private land, it’s their right to develop it,” he said. “We don’t always want development around us when there isn’t any, but it’s giving a new family an opportunity to move to this area. I think it’s important we move this forward.”

Mayor Milsom added that in researching the history of the proposal through council reports, he discovered much work had been done regarding emergency planning and wildfire mitigation in the area.

“This was one of the main concerns of residents in the Casa Loma neighbourhood, the fact there is one primary road in and out.”

Milsom also pointed out wildfire mitigation work has been done or is being done by the city, Regional District Central Okanagan and Westbank First Nation, and that a number of initiatives have been undertaken by resident and community groups to better prepare for emergencies.

City staff will be discussing the next steps with the developer.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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