Thanks to a procedural issue, Kelowna city council has deferred its decision on controversial changes to the McKinley Beach development.
The Aug. 10 public hearing for the matter went ahead as usual, with almost three hours of council deliberation and input from residents, most of whom were concerned with the project’s environmental repercussions. However, it wasn’t the lack of environmental studies brought up by the public that caused the deferral but rather the fact the city hadn’t shared the latest traffic impact studies with the public.
Council deferred the matter so the public can access those documents and share their thoughts on them before deciding.
Kinnikinnik Developments is hoping to extend the project’s development zone to give the 1,300-unit development more room.
“The additional lands will allow more space for the residential development which will help in achieving greater environmental, hillside and park protection as well as integrating the residential development to be less dominate (sic),” reads city staff’s report to council.
Contingent to council’s approval of the expansion, the developer would donate 100 hectares of parkland, worth around $11 million, to the city. The land would be added to McKinley Mountain Park and make it the fifth-largest park in Kelowna.
Critics say the new plans do not align with the vision council approved almost a decade ago, which called for a resort community composed primarily of multiple-family dwellings.
In a letter penned by several local sustainability organizations, executive director of Green Okanagan Shayne Meechan said: “It’s environmentally irresponsible for the City of Kelowna to accept a trade or change of this nature without conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment first on the Resource Protection Area.”
Kinnikinnik would also contribute $1.5 million to Glenmore Road improvements, slated to come in with a $10-million price tag. Development cost charges collected by the city would also aid the taxpayer burden on that project.
The matter has been put over for two weeks to the next public hearing on Aug. 24.