Stalled Penticton development gives council pause in approving variance

Request for variance for apartment building rekindles debate on Winnipeg Street development that has sat idle since 2008

A proposed new development by Paul Singla has been sent back to the drawing board, after becoming a subject for debate by Penticton council on Monday.

At issue was a variance that would have reduced the distance between the planned three-storey apartment building at 245 Edmonton Ave. and its neighbours, but controversy arose when Coun. Helena Konanz proposed that council withhold approval until Singla Bros. Holdings restarts work on another project.

“I personally would like it to be sent back to staff until that same developer starts using his crane on Winnipeg Street,” said Konanz.

Singla Bros. are the developers behind the multi-unit building on Winnipeg Street, where work has been stalled since 2008. Anthony Haddad, director of development services, said they are in the final stages of consultation with the developers to get work started again on that property.

“As soon as that property starts moving, I think that then we can start working on his next project,” said Konanz. “He needs to focus on that development on Winnipeg and get that going.”

However, Haddad explained that council had limited powers to hinder the Edmonton Street project. Council could only refer it back to staff for reasons related to the specific proposal, he said, not for reasons related to another property.

Without stating his reasons, Coun. Andrew Jakubeit simply moved that council table the item for 30 days, immediately seconded by Konanz.

“I am a little apprehensive of the reason, to be very honest with you folks, especially after what Coun. Konanz brought up. But that is a decision you will be faced with as councillors,” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “I think as a council … you better be very careful on what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it.”

The motion to table failed, 4-2, but a later motion from Coun. John Vassilaki to have staff consult further with staff on the building design, passed, resulting in the same effect.

“Thirty days type of thing?” asked Jakubeit as he seconded the motion, which passed with only Litke and Ashton opposed.