Proposal raises concerns

Depending on who’s doing the talking, the proposed 10-storey Reflections on the Lake development in Peachland is either a barometer of business to come or an excessive edifice of greed.

One thing seems certain after last week’s three-hour public hearing on the 112-unit condo tower— there’s no lack of opinions on Peachland’s first high-rise proposal.

About 60 people attended the hearing, with more than 20 voicing their opinions. Opposition to the project was clear from the majority of residents who spoke, but a number of business owners also voiced support for it.

The proposal, which requires Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw amendments, is to construct the 10-storey structure on the current site of the Peachland Lakeshore Inn, near Antlers Beach.

“It’s ugly,” said resident Chris Southin. “This is probably a good site for Peachland’s first tall building...but it’s too tall.”

“The board of directors of the Peachland Chamber of Commerce support the Reflections on the Lake proposed development,” said Donna Weiget, owner of Tiki Hut Tanning.

Speaking on behalf of the chamber, Weiget said investment in the project is welcome by the business sector, a sentiment echoed by several other businesspeople who spoke at the hearing.

Developer Roy Stewart, current owner of property, produced a petition in favour of his project, signed by 26 business owners and seven individuals.

Another 10 letters of support were received by town staff prior to the hearing, as were 26 letters of opposition.

While business people tended to welcome Reflections as a way to boost local business and revitalize a tired area of town, most opponents came out against the sheer size of the project.

“The building is ugly, massive and totally out of character with the general feeling and aspect presented by Peachland,” said Chris Boyle in a letter.

“We are not only opposed to the Reflections on the Lake proposal but feel appalled that council would even allow such a massive development to go this far,” wrote Bill Teed.

Town staff also has a problem with the size of the development. Director of planning David Smith voiced his belief that Reflections should be about 50 per cent smaller than proposed.

Smith said the high-rise is far denser than the OCP allows for, it will have an impact on views from properties further up the mountainside and size of the development will affect the look of the natural terrain of the area.

Brad Cronquist, lawyer for the development, took exception to Smith’s assertion the proposal is too big.

Stewart is now working with the fourth planner since beginning the development process some 28 months ago, according to Cronquist, and none of the previous planners raised concerns about the size of the project.

Smith said two previous planners told him they chose not to voice concerns in the past until the development passed first and second readings of OCP and bylaw amendments—the same point when Smith began raising his concerns.

Mayor Graham Reid took exception to Stewart’s claims about taxes his development would generate.

“The increase in property taxes collected from the development will likely be more than $700,000 (per year), with little increase in operating costs for the district,” states an impact analysis from the developer.

Reid said he asked town staff to figure out what the taxes would be on a 112-unit condo complex if each of the units were worth $400,000.

Staff reported back to Reid that district taxes collected would be just under $170,000.

The $700,000 figure was “an estimate” according to Stewart and was based on the total taxes collected, not just the municipal portion of taxes, and was also based on a $60 million assessment value.

Council will deal with third reading of the OCP and zoning bylaw amendments at its regular council meeting Tuesday night.

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