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Public opposition to Penticton’s Spiller Road development remains

At the first public info session a majority of the public still reject the project
This is the rendering of the newest housing development proposal for 1050 Spiller Rd. above Naramata Bench. Canadian Horizons has scaled down from 300 homes proposed to 112. (Canadian Horizons)

The first public information session on the controversial second go of the Spiller Road proposal saw most residents staying opposed, despite the developer reducing the amount of homes proposed in half.

The hour-and-a-half session on June 9 saw around 50 participants and 75 questions from the public answered by city staff.

At the end of the session, a poll of those still online saw the majority remained strongly opposed to the development.

Concerns were raised over multiple aspects of the development, from the impact it would have on the agricultural make-up of the area, the impact of runoff through the developed area into Strutt Creek, wildfire risks, and whether this project would find support from the Penticton Indian Band when the original was opposed by the band.

Questions were raised over the lack of a geotechnical report, which according to staff is not required as the project is only at the stage where the city is considering land use, well before it would come before the city for a subdivision or development permit.

There were also a number of questions over the reliability of the developer to meet the promises of the Spiller Road development, following the city having to seize the landscape bond when Canadian Horizons did not meet the requirements for the Sendero Canyon development. Some of those concerns seem to grow from Canadian Horizon’s reuse of promotional material from their original proposal, which showed elements such as an additional road connecting to Naramata Road, something that’s missing from the revised design.

The most common sentiment by those commenting and asking questions throughout the night was whether the property actually needed to be developed at all.

City staff added multiple times in their responses that part of the public engagement process was to find out whether the public felt the area should still be considered a growth area after years of changing demographics and public sentiment since that designation was first made.

READ MORE: Public can now have say on controversial housing proposal near Naramata Bench

Feedback will be gathered until July 3 through the website and feedback forms available at Penticton City Hall.

There will be one more online session on June 23, with registration available through the Shape Your City site, and an open house at Uplands Elementary on June 18 and at the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre on June 25, between 10 a.m. and noon.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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