A controversial development in Naramata will go forward with its proposal on Spiller Rd. and is expected to be on Penticton’s city council agenda Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Canadian Horizons vice president Nathan Hildebrand told the Western News that he expects city staff to recommend to council that the next steps in the development proposal will be for city-organized public consultations.
The company also launched a new website that details the whole project, called Vinterra, along with renderings of what the 307 home development will look like.
Hildebrand said they’ve listened and made some changes to address people’s concerns since their last public consultation in the spring and summer of 2020.
Naramata residents have been vocal about their concern with the development, even forming a society to discuss their opposition to the rezoning and density.
“We have reduced the amount of housing from 355 to 307 homes. We have removed the townhouses from the proposal and will now only have single-family homes because that is what the market is asking of us,” Hildebrand said.
Canadian Horizons bought the Spiller Rd. property in 2006. The land has never been in the agricultural land reserve, nor is it zoned for agriculture.
The design of the homes will be similar to those built in their Sendero Canyon development.
“Sendero Canyon was started more than 10 years ago when the market was slow and sales have been sluggish up until recently. We are now sold out at Sendero Canyon,” he said.
Where Sendero Canyon is around 200 to 240 homes, Vinterra will be 307.
“We will have strict design guidelines in place to ensure the housing form is unique to this area and supports the existing look and feel of the surrounding area. The style will be contemporary homes with lots of glass and flat roofs and farmhouse style themed after homes and wineries in the area.
Hildebrand said they have done traffic studies and he claims Naramata Road is “not at capacity and won’t be even after this development.”
The vice president claimed this despite area residents claiming the density proposed by Canadian Horizons does not belong within the sensitive environmental ecosystem, prime agricultural land and the heart of Penticton’s wine and tourism industries.
However, there will need to be improvements to two intersections (Naramata and McMillan (Reservoir Rd.) where the turn is to the landfill and Government and Ekhart where the intersection will have to be reworked.
The development will have two exits from a new road created to Naramata Rd and through Spiller Rd. as required by the city.
“The city wanted two ways out of our development. We are also bringing water to the area that will benefit Spiller Road residents at no cost to them.”
Canadian Horizon said it has tried to address concerns over proximity to the landfill.
The provincial requirement for setbacks to existing landfills is 300m for any residential land uses. The city’s OCP supports this by also showing a 300m buffer.
“We have voluntarily expanded the buffer to the landfill to 400m. We have agreed to delay the creation of these lots until the last phase of development. Further, we have drafted an easement that will be registered on title ensuring that all future homeowners acknowledge the adjacent operation thus protecting the future operation of the landfill.”
When asked about the smells from the landfill and possible odours from the upcoming composting facility, Hildebrand said the new facility may actually help with odours.
“That’s also why we agreed to do the housing nearest to the landfill last to accommodate those perceived concerns,” he said.
They said they have increased the amount of open space and habitat protection to approximately 45 per cent of the overall property. That works out to approximately 56.7 acres of the 126-acre property will be permanently protected in either buffer areas, habitat corridors, parkland, or environmentally sensitive lands.
The development will be phased in over 10 years, depending on how the demand to buy lots goes.
Hildebrand suspects Vinterra will sell a lot faster than Sendero because of the demand and need for single-family housing in Okanagan.
Canadian Horizons says it will pay out $6.4 million in fees to the city over time and bring hundreds of construction jobs.
Canadian Horizons’ new website is vinterrapenticton.ca.