Area proposed to be developed in North Wiltse Block.

Area proposed to be developed in North Wiltse Block.

700-unit housing development gets zoning approval from Penticton council

The first major hurdle for the North Wiltse Block has been cleared

One of the largest developments in Penticton’s recent history has cleared its first major hurdle.

The North Wiltse Block, which proposes almost 700 residential units to be built over coming years, received council approval for rezoning and changing the Official Community plan for the area, with coun. James Miller the sole vote in opposition.

The project will be built in phases, and before construction can get underway, further development permits, including specific hillside development permits, will be required from the city.

Ahead of the vote, a public hearing on Monday saw 12 residents speak about the project with 11 opposing it due to various concerns. Those concerns included traffic from the new development, the environmental impact and the construction impact on existing neighborhoods.

READ MORE: ‘Urban sprawl’: Residents living below 700-unit housing proposal in Penticton speak out

Mayor John Vassilaki also noted the traffic issue, and expressed his hope that the city and BC Transit will take the lessons of Sendero Canyon to heart and prepare for expanding transit services ahead of the development’s completion.

A discussion of affordability of homes also arose ahead of the vote, including misconceptions such as affordability implying low-income or subsidized housing.

“What the housing needs assessment showed us, granted it was done in 2017 and it’s a little outdated, is we need multiple forms of housing,” said coun. Campbell Watt. “It’s not just the subsidized, low-income workers’ homes.”

The developer is proposing 183 single-family homes, 28 duplexes and 475 apartments to be built over the coming years.

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