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Environmental groups oppose new development at McKinley Beach in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Environmental groups oppose new development at Kelowna’s McKinley Beach' Environmental groups oppose new development at Kelowna’s McKinley Beach
Environmental groups oppose new development at Kelowna’s McKinley Beach – Aug 10, 2021

David Jenkins is imploring Kelowna city council to be extremely diligent when considering McKinley Beach’s latest development proposal.

“You should like upon it like the Trojan Horse,” Jenkins told Global News.

Jenkins is a board member of the Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council, a group that vehemently opposes the latest development application by McKinley Beach to the City of Kelowna.

“This goes completely in the face of the 2040 official community plan, particularly with regard to the protection of the natural environment and climate change,” Jenkins said.

READ MORE: Groundwater potential cause of landslide in McKinley Beach development

McKinley Beach has applied to the city to amend the official community plan, or OCP, to rezone portions of the properties to extend the boundary and to add a park as part of a land swap.

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“They are offering up ALR land in compensation for being able to develop about 300 acres of pristine ponderosa pines and put about 800 single-family dwellings on it,” said Shayne Meechan, whose group, Green Okanagan, also opposes the development.

City staff have recommended approving the application.

The 100-hectare park designation has a reported land value of $11 million and the amendments would allow the already approved density at McKinley Beach to be spread out over a larger area.

But those who oppose the development worry that not enough research has been done into the application and the consequences that approving it could have.

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“We don’t have enough information at this point,” Meechan said.

“There hasn’t been a thorough analysis of this decision. There hasn’t been a thorough analysis of the land swap or the proposed development.”

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The developer for the McKinley Beach proposal declined an on-camera interview, but did send Global News a statement outlining the proposal.

“We believe this application provides great public benefit to both the McKinley area as well as Kelowna at large,” Andrew Goucher said in the statement.

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However, Meechan and Jenkins both respectfully disagree.

“It goes against the vision that Kelowna citizens put forth in the official community plan, as well as Imagine Kelowna,” Meechan said.

“We’ve shared our vision. We know what we want. We want more development in our urban centres and we want to keep away from urban sprawl developments like what’s been proposed here at McKinley Beach,” Meechan said.

Meechan and Jenkins plan on taking that message to a public hearing at City Hall on Wednesday at 6 p.m., where they’ll ask council to defer any further decision on the development until a proper environmental impact assessment can be done

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