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Okanagan community rallies to save ‘gem of Kaleden’ from development

Click to play video 'Okanagan community rallies to save ‘gem of Kaleden’ from development' Okanagan community rallies to save ‘gem of Kaleden’ from development
Okanagan community rallies to save ‘gem of Kaleden’ from development

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has initiated a process to save a beloved, undeveloped piece of paradise along Skaha Lake in the South Okanagan called “Sickle Point.”

The RDOS has directed staff to go to Kaleden taxpayers and ask their permission to borrow up to $3.5 million for the purchase of the private land.

Sickle Point is a waterfront parcel approximately 4.8 acres in size and is located in the unincorporated community of Kaleden, between the KVR on the west and Skaha Lake on the east.

Read more: Fundraiser aims to save Naramata beach from private sale

Subrina Monteith, the RDOS Area I director (Skaha West/Kaleden/Apex), said the community envisions Sickle Point as a nature park.

“They call it the gem of Kaleden, the heart of Kaleden, they appreciate the value of the birds and the wildlife in the area,” she told Global News.

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“People are going by and stopping at Sickle Point, and knowing that there’s Crown land on either side of the property, just little piece of heaven that’s waiting to be appreciated.”

The problem is, the property is under a court-ordered sale and a conditional offer has been accepted.

Conditions are to be removed by Nov. 26.

Read more: RDOS purchases Naramata park space for $1.6-million

The property has been appraised at $2.48 million and the listed price is $2.95 million, according to a staff report.

The regional district says it has conversed with the seller about submitting an offer based on the appraised value, but conditional on borrowing approval from residents, with a proposed February 2021 closing date.

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Monteith said a mandate from Kaleden residents would allow the RDOS to make an offer if the current deal falls through, or approach the new property owner with the proposition.

“Purchasing parkland is typically in the best interest of the community, so if the community agrees to purchase Sickle Point, then we would have to work something out with the new owner of the property if it were to sell before we got permission to purchase it from the court,” she said.

Read more: Farmers rally against proposed mega-subdivision on the Naramata Bench

“The community should have purchased Sickle Point 15 years ago. The community has said to me, over and over, they don’t support any development, but it’s privately-owned land.”

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The Kaleden Community Association has initiated a fundraising program to assist in the purchase and has $250,000 committed from supporters.

“If we don’t purchase it, then it will be sold, and it will be developed,” Monteith said.

“Once it’s gone, we will never get it back. That’s marshland we will never get back.”

To learn more about the “Save Sickle Point” initiative, click here.