The visitors’ gallery at Kelowna’s city council was unusually busy for Monday afternoon’s meeting.
Although the controversial development on McCurdy and Rutland roads wasn’t actually on the agenda, residents were hoping council would discuss the matter.
More than 14,000 people signed a petition against the wet facility, mostly over concerns about its close proximity to several schools. Petition organizers were hoping to present the approximately 1,500-page document to council during the meeting.
Petition organizer Audra Boudreau said the mayor told her council wouldn’t accept the petition during the official meeting, but they did meet beforehand so council could see the documents.
Rutland residents are hoping that council will rescind the zoning for the property, so the project can’t move forward.
The final zoning was recently passed on June 17. Council has 30 days to reconsider its decision.
“I have, on behalf of council, been in contact with housing minister Selina Robinson regarding the operating model of the development,” Basran said during the afternoon council meeting. “These discussions are ongoing, and to allow for more time, I have asked for a council meeting to take place this Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the council chamber, which is still within the reconsideration period.”
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People reacted to the mayor’s decision outside council chambers.
“I hope it’s a step in the right direction,” Rutland resident Doug Cruikshank said. “We hope there’s serious reconsideration and that our kids and seniors are protected.”
Boudreau said she believes council is starting to hear Rutland residents.
“That’s not baby steps, that’s a big step for us. The announcement in council today is also positive potentially,” she said.
“I trust that it isn’t a delay tactic,” resident Dan Grant said. “I also think that it will be decided before that meeting actually happens. I think that meeting will take place and then they’ll tell us what they’ve already decided.”
Boudreau said she hopes the property will be used for low-income housing instead.