Neighbours fear fallout from Penticton development

Council denies variance to allow up to two duplexes on Finnerty Road property

Citing concerns about landslides, sinkholes and other dangers, residents from Skaha Benches strata development turned out in force this week to oppose a variance to a neighbouring property.

Lisa McCall, of 3945 Finnerty Road, had hoped council would endorse a variance that would have allowed her to subdivide her property, with the intention of building up to two duplexes on the steeply graded property rising above Skaha Lake, off Lakeside Road.

McCall’s property, as well as part of Skaha Benches, is situated in a “red zone,” an area that the city has flagged as possibly unstable.

“We just had a new study done in November 2011, with a new bore hole sample and we also have the new land slip assurance documents signed by a registered geotechnical engineer,” said Tony White, McCall’s husband. He also cited two previous studies that confirmed the stability of the ground. “We know the ground is solid from a professional standpoint.”

“The City of Penticton, unfortunately, has been the recipient of some slippage to the south of you,” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “We’re the ones with the deep pockets that everybody usually comes after. That’s one of the concerns here.”

Many of those objecting to the variance cited that same incident, where heavy rainfall in June 2006 caused a mudslide on an unstable slope and forced the residents of a condo complex on Gabion Court to evacuate, some for several months.

Council listened to the arguments and counter arguments before coming to their decision.

“This is not a small change, it is a significant change,” said Coun. Judy Sentes, pointing out that variances are usually for minor changes to zoning regulations. She also said she was nervous about the risk not only to city finances, but to life and property.

Those concerns were shared by some other members of council, including Coun. Garry Litke, who visited the property and brought back examples of the soil.

“It’s not a matter of if this is coming down, it’s when,” Litke said, crumbling a clod of earth to sand as he spoke. “Eighty-eight people will sue the city. Taxpayers are at risk of legal action. I can’t support this.”

Coun. Wes Hopkin, who supported the variance, took exception to Litke’s theatrics.

“That’s not science, it’s hocus pocus,” said Hopkin, who felt the decision over the validity of a geotechnical survey should be left to trained city staff.

Finally, with three councillors opposed and two supporting it of the six present, the decision came down to Ashton. Though he agreed the owner would be able to develop the property with different goals, he felt council did not have enough information on their current intentions to allow a variance.

“For myself, I am not comfortable tonight. If it had have been something that would have fit, or something council would have been more comfortable with,” he said, casting his vote against supporting the variance and adding a warning to the Skaha Benches residents. “But I need to say to each and every one of you folks, there will be some development on that property, and it could be a duplex right in front of you.”


Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read