As a resident and taxpayer in Penticton, I take great exception and feel insulted by the comment from Coun. Max Picton that he is “disappointed that members of the community would come out and rally against such things as affordable rentals and child care facilities.”
First, let me say to you councillor Picton, I did not hear anyone say they were against affordable housing. Quite the contrary, as the first speaker said categorically, that we are not opposed to building new apartment rentals in the city, but we are opposed to the magnitude of this development being approved for this deep narrow parcel of land.
The cry from over 500 neighbourhood residents was asking council to not overload the block with more high density buildings because first and foremost it raises serious questions about the public’s safety so near to an elementary school, five eight-storey condominium buildings and family homes across the street and down the block.
Are we not allowed to remind councilors again of the fact the land was designated parkland reserve with the intent to purchase it for over 26 years? It was not planned for additional high density buildings. Why shouldn’t that council decision be mentioned when a new handful of residents decides to allow a private developer the right to mow down the trees and pave over the grasslands on what some local buyers were told at city hall, “It’s parkland don’t worry about it.” Mr. Picton is it wrong for about 60 condo owners, under these circumstances, to be upset about their views of the city, the parks and the mountains will disappear and be filled with two six-storey buildings and a parking lot? Can adults and seniors not be concerned about school and public safety?
Penticton’s official community plan needs an independent analysis. When you can allow different numbers of construction units per parcel of land and then change it to suit another parcel of land it is puzzling. I hope the fire department is on board with this project because when looking at the site drawings, their apparatus and firefighters could quickly find themselves in very close quarters amongst two six-storey wood-frame buildings with one way in and the same route out, in a parking lot filled with vehicles. Street parking will be at a premium with the additional vehicles, the school zone and bus routes.
Coun. Picton please don’t state again that residents in this neighbourhood or any other citizen of this city is against affordable housing and child facilities. I’m sure that opinion would be in the minority. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, resident opinions may not always be what you want to hear, but when you are on council it goes with the territory.
My husband and I have worked more hours volunteering than you have lived — volunteering, helping and caring for others children, seniors and the public at large. Are you listening? We do care.