Diamonds, a proposed development north of Summerland, would allow 106 residential units overlooking Okanagan Lake. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen image)

Diamonds, a proposed development north of Summerland, would allow 106 residential units overlooking Okanagan Lake. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen image)

Large development proposal near Summerland defeated

Diamonds would have had 106 residential units, built in two phases

A development proposal for 106 units in eight terraced apartment structures north of Summerland will not proceed.

At the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board meeting on Oct. 21, a vote on the third reading of the bylaw was defeated.

The bylaw was for land-use changes from Tourist Commercial to Medium Density Residential and zoning from Campground Commercial Site Specific to Medium Density Residential One. Five properties within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen are affected by these changes.

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The site is more than 10 kilometres north of downtown Summerland, near Greata Ranch and Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, placing it outside of Summerland’s electrical utility and fire coverage area.

The development, Diamonds, was to be be built over two phases. In addition to the residential units, the concept called for an estate-style landscaping, a common infinity pool, pickleball courts, a tennis court, a private community centre and a lakeside restaurant and marina.

The rezoning application came before the regional district in May 2021.

At a public hearing held by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on Oct. 21, Fritz Boekel, developer of the project, said the development will not be a high-density neighbourhood.

He said water is available on site, and sewer options are being considered. “There is enough water on the site. We know that,” he said.

Boekel is also the developer behind the Oasis development, a lakefront development under construction in Summerland.

Monica Stachek of Kelowna spoke in favour of the proposed development. “I think it would be great to see some growth in the Summerland area,” she said. Additional growth would mean more amenities for the community, she added.

In a letter to the regional district, Anne Hargrave of Penticton expressed concerns about the development proposal.

“There are no services here and residents will be driving everywhere to meet all their needs and transit would not be financially feasible to offset this trend. Carbon emissions from transportation form approximately 50 per cent of local carbon pollution locally, so this type of development is totally contrary to current targets for climate change mitigation,” she said.

She also raised concerns about the water for this development and the effect on the neighbouring provincial park campground.

Eva Durance of Penticton also raised concerns about the effect of the development on the climate.

“Have we not learned anything even at the local level from this summer’s heat dome and wildfires, never mind similar events of the past two decades? The fact, the Greata Ranch itself was threatened by a wildfire a couple of years ago,” she said in a letter to the regional district. “A large residential development will only add to the increasing number of interface areas needing protection in the case of a wildfire, protection for which we all pay.”

Members of the regional district board were concerned about the effects of this development.

Doug Holmes, a Summerland councillor, said he could not justify adding 10 kilometres of sewer to service 106 units at the development.

He added that approving the development, between Summerland and Peachland, would result in infill along the highway.

Rick Knodel also opposed the proposed development for the same reason. “I’m quite concerned about the urban sprawl,” he said.

Tim Roberts chose to vote against the development proposal because of concerns about water resources.

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developmentOkanagan-Similkameen Regional DistrictSummerland