The public will have a chance, starting later this month, to have some input on a major residential development planned for southeast Penticton.
Wiltse Holdings Ltd. is planning an extensive 800-home subdivision, to be built out over the course of two decades on two lots, some 630 acres in all, starting above the Upper Wiltse area and south of the city.
“One of the two parcels it involves is in the City of Penticton and is already designated in the OCP for light low density or urban development,” said consultant Ed Grifone.
The other area, to the south, is 300 acres, which is currently in the regional district, but has been identified by the City of Penticton since the ‘90s for the possibility of bringing some or all of the land into the city for servicing and development.
“One of the main reasons this area has been identified by the city and by Wiltse Land Holdings is because of the fantastic views it does command of Okanagan Lake to the north and Skaha Lake to the south,” said Grifone.
Along with fantastic views goes steep terrain in spots. Of the 630 acres, only about 165 acres is developable, according to Grifone. On that, the plan proposes building 800 to 850 units in a mix of single and multifamily homes, housing an estimated 1,500 to 1,700 people.
The plan also includes a small commercial area, but no school. Though the Okanagan Skaha School District has said they are interested in placing a school there and are conducting a study, Grifone said that in there own discussions with the school district they believe a elementary school is not appropriate for the area, partly due to the terrain.
Similarly, Grifone said there is little room for standard “flat playable parkland.” They are recommending the park dedication be made up of green space areas and trails in the less developable areas, pointing out that Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park borders the development to the south.
There is still work to be done, according to Grifone, like annexing the RDOS lands into the city for servicing and access, discussing the parks dedication, and concluding the school issue. However, he said they were ready to move on to the public consultation phase.
Dates and times are still to be determined, but two open houses are expected to take place in the next few weeks where the public will be able to view the entire plan, ask questions and comment. One will take place at Wiltse Elementary School and the other in downtown Penticton.