Regional board stands behind decision

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will not reconsider approval of housing development that conflicts with regional growth strategy

Elected officials narrowly voted last week to stand by a controversial decision on regional land-use policy.

Directors of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on Nov. 21 voted 9-4 to give early approval to a 12-lot housing development on Vaseux Lake that is in apparent conflict with a regional growth strategy.

But board chair Dan Ashton brought the matter back for reconsideration at last Thursday’s meeting  at the request of one of the directors.

“There was an indication that there may have been a mixing of some information regarding that decision and I want to make sure it’s clean,” Ashton explained.

Allan Patton, the director for rural Oliver, said he asked for the reconsideration because he was unsure if each of his colleagues had read the growth strategy.

His wish was not granted, however, as the board voted 7-6 against the reconsideration. Those on the losing side with Patton were Directors Ron Hovanes, Tom Siddon, Michael Brydon, Garry Litke and Stu Wells. Only Okanagan directors voted because their counterparts in the Similkameen opted out of the strategy.

The proposed development on Vaseux Lake still has to go through the normal regulatory approval process, which should include public hearings.

Former Penticton Mayor Jake Kimberley in November wrote a letter to the editor that noted the regional growth strategy, which he helped create, took almost 10 years to complete at a cost of $400,000.