Town council willing to listen to revised plan for RV Park and development on Wish property

By on March 5, 2014

CouncilDespite rejecting plans to support the building of a huge RV Park and commercial development project, members of Town of Osoyoos council are more than willing to hear the details about a “significantly revised site plan.”

For more than a decade, developer Kevin Demers, the owner of Pemborough Estates, has been attempting to get an exclusion from the provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to build a 160-unit RV Park in Osoyoos.

His proposal has been rejected by the ALC on numerous occasions over the past dozen years.

In early December of 2013, member of the current council rejected a request from Demers asking for their support for an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) exclusion from the ALC.

The application was presented by Rod Cook and Jordan Hettinga, who were acting as agents for Demers.

Council’s decision was based in part following a public meeting where the majority of local residents opposed the ALR exclusion request.

After council’s rejection, Demers carefully considered his options about withdrawing the application and/or revising the original proposal and submitting it again, said Alain Cunningham, the town’s director of development and planning, during a presentation to town council on Monday.

Council has been advised that as of two weeks ago, Cook has advised by email that, “Further to our telephone conversations … please be advised that we would like to withdraw our current ALR exclusion application. We will be submitting a new application very shortly based on addition to the land use and a significantly revised site plan.”

A new application and proposal by Demers or his agents is expected very soon, said Cunningham.

The previous application would have seen 22 acres of the Wish property located near 45 Avenue on the east bench of Osoyoos be turned into a 160-unit RV park. The proposal also would have seen the development of three retail/commercial apartment buildings fronting the highway, sites for a small commercial building and a secondary town fire hall and north-south connector road allowance along the eastern side of the property.

Part of the proposal also included compensating for the loss of the Wish property from the ALR by financing inclusion of a 32-acre parcel of property near Cawston into the ALR that has been previously vegetated but is currently being cultivated for a vineyard, said Cunningham.

Council has made it very clear that it would no longer support any request by Demers or his agents in relation to the application asking for the ALR exclusion, said Cunningham.

If the new application is going to see a dramatically revised site plan, members of council are more than willing to hear the details, said Mayor Stu Wells.

“I would be interested in seeing what they have to say,” he said.

One of the biggest reasons most experts believe the exclusion application has been repeatedly rejected by the ALC is because of the size and scope of the project and the fact it would take up so much agricultural land.

Coun. C. J. Rhodes, who has supported the application by Demers to build the RV Park in the past, said it should be clear to the developer that changes to the site plan are necessary or the ALC will continue to reject it.

“Certainly out of respect we should at least allow them to speak,” said Rhodes. “I would be more than happy to see what they have to say under any circumstances.”

Coun. Michael Ryan agreed saying council has an obligation to listen to the details of this proposed development especially if the size and scope of the project has been dramatically reduced. No date has been set for Demers or his agents to present details about the revised site plan to members of council.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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