British Columbia

5-storey waterfront development opposed in Peachland, B.C.

Hundreds of residents in the small Okanagan community of Peachland, B.C., are voicing opposition to a mixed-use building proposed for the waterfront.

Hundreds pack public hearing to voice concerns about increasing allowable building height

Dozens of people spoke at a public hearing Tuesday to voice opposition to a five-storey building proposed for Peachland's waterfront. (Brady Strachan/ CBC)

Residents opposed to a waterfront building proposal in Peachland, B.C., will have to wait at least two more weeks to learn the fate of the controversial project.

A developer has proposed a five-storey mixed-use building on Beach Avenue, overlooking the small Okanagan community's waterfront.

The proposal has faced opposition from residents because Peachland's official community plan currently says buildings must not exceed three storeys.

"Right now, we can be proud to live in a place that has not been ruined. It would be nice to keep it that way," resident Jim Masters said at a packed public hearing Tuesday night.

Masters referenced a petition against the proposal that has been signed by hundreds of residents who argue such a building could block lake views and encourage similar development.

The PeachTree Village development proposed for Beach Avenue would include 10,600 square feet of commercial and office space, along with apartments. (PeachTree Village)

Other residents said they were "bewildered" at the proposal, arguing it is not aligned with the marketing of historic Peachland as a quaint destination.

More than 300 people attended the public hearing, but only a handful spoke in support of the project.

'Downtown is struggling'

Developer Gaetan Royer, who is also a resident, argues such a building is necessary to help the community thrive.

"We have a nice downtown, a quaint downtown, but it's not thriving. Downtown is struggling," said Royer.

"Shopping dollars from Peachland go to West Kelowna. There is not enough business-to-business activity because there's not enough businesses."

The mixed-use project would include 10,600 square feet of commercial and office space and 10 residential units.

Royer said the community has one of the lowest ratios of business tax in the Okanagan.

"The district is struggling to pay for services and new amenities and very badly required infrastructure renewal," he said. "We're working hard to bring downtown revitalization."

Council will vote in February on whether to amend the official community plan. 

With files from CBC's Daybreak South and Brady Strachan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email jaimie.kehler@cbc.ca.

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