This letter is in respect to the proposed mega development in the hills above the Naramata Bench. Sometime ago, this beautiful land was recognized as having special value and was purposefully zoned low density (Country Residential) – a zoning with integrity for the landscape and ecosystem. Now the developer, Canadian Horizons, is requesting a zoning change. If successful, the new zoning would even include R3 zoning which is small lots with lanes.
In my mind the only reason to even consider this would be if the project was so advanced in terms of its use of innovative and forward-thinking development practises such as alternative energy, low water use, recycled materials, affordability, ameliorating homelessness and an integrated multi-use community.
But this project has none of those things. It’s anachronistic and a reminder of everything that was wrong with development in the 1970s that we commonly refer to now as urban sprawl.
I can hear it now. Tourists will look up and say, “What happened?”
Recently the developer stated on their website: “We’re hoping to build a new road from the Spiller Road development down to Naramata Road so we won’t have to drive by the dump with our potential investors.” The new road would be a real coup for the developer. Not only will some of the land the road is on be donated to them for free by the city, but it will turn their cheaper land off Spiller Road to much more expensive land off Naramata Road so the home prices could be even higher.
Do we really want to let this old-fashioned development proceed on our most pristine hillside land located at the gateway to our world renowned tourist attraction, the Naramata Bench? Please Mr. Laven and city councillors, don’t sell the farm for this short-sited development plan. If we have to have this project at all please scale it back so that it is accessed only from Spiller Road and conforms to the country residential zoning in place.
That way it won’t be subsidized by taxpayers donating pristine hillside and an important wildlife habitat for what would essentially be a driveway to the development and a mechanism for increased profit-taking by the developer.