Penticton council rejects Scott Avenue development

his Singla Bros. project has a long history, starting in Aug. 2012, when it first came before council

A neighbourhood along Scott Avenue heaved a collective sigh of relief Monday when city council turned down an apartment project for the third time in two years.

Short one member, council ended up in a 3-3 tie vote over a project to build a three-storey, 13-unit apartment building at 173 Avenue. Tie votes result in the defeat of a proposition.

Council support for the project was split after hearing delegations from the neighbourhood, which also submitted a 39-signature petition and aired additional concerns that new units would further congest the street and that the apartment building was simply too big for the lot, and the developers, who stressed the city’s need for affordable rental housing.

This Singla Bros. project has a long history, starting in Aug. 2012, when it first came before council.

After protests from neighbours, council gave the project conditional support and directed the developer to meet with the neighbourhood and address their concerns.

They failed to receive council approval in April 2014, and down scaled the project once more to 13 rental units, as opposed to the original 17-unit plan.

Coun. Andrew Jakubeit supported the project, saying the city needs more affordable rental housing.

“I am also sympathetic to the need for development and the economic activity it creates,” said Jakubeit, who was joined in supporting the project by Couns. Helena Konanz and John Vassilaki. “I think this has been revised three times now, based on neighbourhood concern.”

Coun. Katie Robinson and Mayor Garry Litke both spoke out strongly against the project.

“I am as open to anyone to the concept of affordable housing and rentals, but I don’t believe it all has to be on the same street,” said Robinson. “I sincerely believe Scott Ave. has reached saturation point, where it just can’t handle any more.”

Litke spoke about the dangers of rezoning the city piecemeal to suit developers, and pointed out that the developer had still failed to meet expectations and the project would be a drastic change to the character of the neighbourhood.

“It is just too big, too dense, in an area that is already too busy.”