Penticton considers expanding borders

City council is considering adding 300 acres for residential development

Adding this block of land would extend Penticton’s boundaries right up to the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. (File photo)

Council is considering whether the City of Penticton needs to expand.

On the agenda on Tuesday is a proposal to extend the city’s boundaries by adding about 300 acres of land next to Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

This is a continuation of the Upper Wiltse Area Structure Plan, which was added to Penticton’s Official Community Plan in 2014. The north block — about 330 acres already in the City of Penticton and already under development. Earlier this year, the city received a letter from developers interested in moving on to developing the south block.

Between the two blocks, there is expected to be room for about 800 to 850 new homes.

When the request was received, planning manager Blake Laven noted the block of land included areas of ecological sensitivity and areas used for recreation.

Related: Growing a city

“The Skaha climbing bluffs extend right into the property and the property is adjacent to the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park,” he said.

Extending the city’s boundaries requires electoral approval, which the developers have agreed to cover the costs of, according to the staff report, which also says the developer has indicated that they support, in principle, the dedication of a significant proportion of the land to create an expansion of Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

City staff are recommending that rather than go through a referendum, the city employ the “Alternate Approval Process,” where at least 10 per cent of the electors would have to petition against the boundary extension.

City Council will be discussing the addition at their regular council meeting, starting at 1 p.m. on Sept. 19.

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