WATCH: Tractors line Main Street in opposition of Naramata Bench development

More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
City of Penticton mayor John Vassilaki addresses the crowd gathered at City Hall, Tuesday. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
John Bilodeau, farmer, speaks to those gathered at City Hall, Tuesday. (Phil McLachlan - Penticton Western News)
More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Penticton architect, Chris Allen, speaks to the crowd gathered at City Hall, Tuesday. (Phil McLachlan - Penticton Western News)
More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
More than 20 farmers drove their tractors down Penticton’s Main Street today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

More than 20 farmers from the Penticton area drove their tractors down Main Street and parked in front of City Hall today (Sept. 15), rallying against a proposed development in the Naramata Bench area.

The train of tractors made the trip from the outskirts of town to voice concerns over the development, proposed by developer Canadian Horizons.

The development would include 320-plus homes in the area of 1050 Spiller Road.

Yesterday, word of the proposed rally spread, and prompted a reaction from Canadian Horizons.

READ MORE: Rally opposing Naramata Bench housing project prompts reaction from developer

The farmers stopped on Main Street in front of City Hall, drawing a crowd of about 50 people in total. Several individuals spoke, including some farmers, business owners and development experts.

Farmer John Bilodeau, petition founder Josie Tyabji, business owner Lyndie Hill, architect Chris Allen were outspoken about their concerns.

“We just wanted to send a message to everyone here at City Hall that we don’t like this project,” said Bilodeau in front of the crowd.

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki also briefly addressed those present before he and his council returned inside to continue their regular council meeting.

The group is concerned that this development will threaten not only the environment but also the economy in the area. Tyabji referenced places such as Napa or Tuscany, where farm country is “well recognized as such and maintained as an important resource for the community.”

“Travelling to different areas of the world, you begin to really appreciate what we have in our community… the natural abundance, the agricultural belt, KVR trail, the wildlife, the cliffs and the rolling hills all paint a picture and offer an experience that is unparalleled in Canada… this is our brand,” said Tyabji.

Architect Chris Allen explained that although he has based his life around building developments, he is opposed to this one.

The mayor and council temporarily adjourned their council meeting to address the crowd.

“I can assure you I’m a people’s mayor, our council is a people’s council and we’ll do what’s in the best interest for the community and the City of Penticton,” said the mayor before him and his council returned to their meeting.

In terms of where the project is at, the City of Penticton’s planning department confirmed Tuesday that Canadian Horizons has made an application to the City to rezone their property. The City’s director of development services, Blake Laven said they are still waiting on a few items from the developer.

The 160-acre property, purchased by Canadian Horizons in 2005, is currently zoned country residential, which is described as larger lots on septic systems, with the exception of about 12 acres of the land currently zoned for a mobile home park.

Canadian Horizons is hoping to change this zoning to a mixture of R1 (large lot residential), R2, (small lot residential) and R3 (small lot with lanes) zoning. Laven explained the Canadian Horizons has removed all town housing from the project, and there are some lands that are zoned for open space conservation and park.

“When we are doing our analysis, we will be taking direction from the City’s official community plan (OCP), which does designate those lands for residential development,” said Laven.

Laven expects to receive more information by the end of the month, at which time the development services department can decide what their recommendation will be when the item is brought back before City council in November or December.

READ MORE: Locals vocal about proposed 300-plus home development in Naramata Bench

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agriculture

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Primary Care Networks coming for Okanagan Nation Alliance communities

New partnerships will provide Syilx members with better, culturally-safe primary care

Okanagan rental housing market facing challenges due to COVID-19

The impact on real estate markets remains a wildcard

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Public input sharpens vision of Oyama Ithmus Park

Proposed project to shape the long-term future of waterfront land in Lake Country

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna church service

Attendees of Calvary Chapel Kelowna’s Sept. 13 morning service may have been exposed

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

PHOTOS: Ghost sighting in Vernon’s Polson Park

Mom and daughter photoshoot brings joy and laughter to bystanders

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

Most Read