The public will get their say on the proposed 700-unit North Wiltse Block development during a public hearing June 20.
City council gave their approval to sending the project to a public hearing, following the results of the public engagement process presented at June 7’s meeting.
That engagement process saw feedback from close to 600 participants, with 140 citizens attending the city’s three information sessions.
A majority of the responses, and comments from council were in support of the project.
The main point of contention among councillors ahead of sending the project to the next stage of public input was over the recommendation of requiring the developer to pay either a portion or all of the costs of up to $5 million to add a bike lane that would connect from the Wiltse Block to the Lake-to-Lake route.
“Doing my analysis of the value of this development, I believe there is enough money in their budget for this development to pay for the bike lane in its entirety,” said coun. Julius Bloomfield.
Coun. Frank Regehr questioned whether requiring the developer to pay for the entirety of the bike lane would be a fair request.
The city will be requiring the developer to pay 85 per cent of the costs for extending a feeder line to the city’s water mains for the new development, with the city paying for the remaining 15 per cent, estimated at $300,000.
According to staff, the bike lane connection to the Lake-to-Lake Route is a low priority from the city’s perspective, but as with other projects when a developer is leading the charge on a project in a nearby area it is common to get the developers to pay for the city planned project as well.
An exact method of having the developer cover the costs for the bike lane, as well as for the required addition of a feeder water line to the city’s water mains to the development are also still in development.
Other issues were also discussed beyond the bike lane, and included public feedback such as concerns of the environmental impacts on clearing trees, the proposed density and lack of commercial uses, wildfire threats and emergency egress, and some of the existing issues in the community such as school capacity, speeding on Wiltse Boulevard and Pineview Road and other traffic impacts
Mayor John Vassilaki expressed his concern over adding additional infrastructure maintenance costs to the city’s budgets before the tax revenue becomes enough to cover them, and Coun. James Miller questioned whether any of the properties would developed into more affordable housing.
If the amendments receive further readings and are adopted following the public hearing, additional applications and processes will be required where it will be possible to address other concerns surfaced by the community in the engagement process. These processes include subdivision approval, earthworks permits, and development permit area guidelines. Information about the hearing will be published at www.penticton.ca
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