Channel crossing complicates development plans

Penticton Indian Band's plans for a shopping centre await government approval for a bridge over the Okanagan River Channel

Progress between the government and Penticton Indian Band is slowly moving towards the goal of getting the Channel Crossing shopping centre opened.

Boundary Similkameen MLA John Slater said the province is working with the PIB on a number of potential road projects including the intersection on Green Avenue and the Channel Parkway, which will be the primary entrance into the proposed Channel Crossing project.

Slater said one of the hiccups for the Green Avenue exchange was with the Okanagan River Channel and the design criteria laid out by Transport Canada and the DFO.

“What happened is it was deemed navigable waters so they want to make sure you can stick a sail boat on it,” said Slater. “It is frustrating going from a $4 to $5 million bridge to a $14 million bridge, which I think was the last quote we got for the bigger one. I think they realized that maybe this is a little over the top, but we are working with them.”

Slater said the province is hoping to package the Green Avenue interchange/bridge and improvements to the Kaleden junction Highway 97 turnoff to Keremeos as a package that will “move forward this spring as the ideal timeline.”

The MLA said he believes it will all go for public consultation because it is not just the PIB that would be affected, the province and the City of Penticton would also be involved.

Chief Jonathan Kruger said they are still in talks right now with the government regarding different projects. He said at this time he is not ready to provide information about the discussions.

“We have had meetings with (Ministry of Transportation) and we are working on a protocol, a memorandum of understanding and we are talking about outstanding issues with roads. We are going to be coming together to address those outstanding issues and create solutions,” said Kruger.

Form Retail Advisors, a retail real estate company, has been listed as the agent for the proposed Channel Crossing shopping centre located on locatee lands within the Penticton Indian Reserve.

The site plan for the power centre found on Form Retail’s website identifies one section designated as a “home improvement site.” A second document found on the website, titled as a brochure, shows the same site plan but identifies Target on the south portion of the proposed shopping centre and a Lowe’s with outdoor retail area on the north portion of the site.

Form Retail states that it will offer a variety of retail opportunities including large and mid-size box stores and some of the units “abutting the bank of Penticton’s famous river channel.”

Form Retail did not return calls from the Western News for further follow up, and Kruger said the PIB has been working with Property Development Group (PDG) which does list the Channel Crossing as a current project but has not updated their small description of it. They still list Landmark Cinemas as an anchor tenant and that construction of the project is going to commence early 2012.

Landmark Cinemas announced last year they would be opening a new theatre on the old Liquidation World site in the summer of 2012.