Allan King of Colonial Farms (centre) speaks against a proposed apartment complex to be built on wetlands neighbouring the farm at a packed Armstrong council chambers Monday. (Photo submitted)

Armstrong housing complex plan defeated

Proposed apartment building to be built on wetlands draws major opposition from residents

The people spoke, council listened.

Armstrong council unanimously defeated an official community plan and zoning amendment bylaw application from Vernon-based Quality First Homes to build a residential housing complex at 3730 Okanagan Street.

The move came after more than 60 people crammed into council chambers Monday, and everybody who spoke was against the application.

“It was a very passionate group that made presentations for more than hour on preserving the green space and wetlands in Armstrong,” said Mayor Chris Pieper.

The subject property is in part of the city’s wetlands.

Quality First Homes had hoped to change the future land use designation from single/two-unit residential to multiple unit residential medium density, and rezone the property from country residential to multiple unit residential-apartment.

“I felt that council, in its wisdom, acted very prudently in its decision-making process,” said resident Ken Smedley, who attended the meeting. “The council chambers were packed with a really strong cross-section of the community. They were not in favour of more wetland development in Armstrong.”

The major concern, said Smedley, is what would happen when water is displaced.

“It has to go somewhere,” he said. “They’re in a process where they’re studying the effects and impacts of how to contend with the water that exists in the floodplain which Armstrong sits upon.

“It was not an adversarial encounter. Everybody was considerate of each other. I think people there were looking for leadership and council showed their capacity to lead when it comes to the decision making process.”

The developer was present at the meeting but did not speak.

Neighbouring Colonial Farms, home to a chicken processing plant, spoke against the application, saying they experience complaints from time to time from Keevil Road residents, located above the farm. The proposed development, said general manager Allan King, is much closer and would likely generate more complaints.

“Our business requires the constant flow of heavy trucks, moving both day and night, as well as the traffic created by our 80 employees going to and from work,” said King. “We also have refrigeration and other motors that run 24-7.

“We are concerned about families with small children locating beside us. It is not an area where you would want small children riding bikes and playing.”

With the defeat, the property’s zoning remains as is. Pieper said he didn’t believe anything was going to happen to the property in the short term.

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