Developers of a proposed gondola project near Vernon have the support of Regional District of North Okanagan electoral area directors.
But they still have plenty of work to do on their plan.
RDNO staff will prepare an official community plan amendment bylaw and zoning amendment bylaw for first reading only. The amendment will change part of a 116-hectare parcel of property south of Bailey Road off Highway 97 above the western side of the highway from large holding to commercial to allow for a gondola project and other amenities overlooking Kalamalka Lake.
“We felt the project was worthwhile to take a look at providing they (applicants) satisfy all of the requirements,” said Rick Fairbairn, electoral area D director and chair of the electoral area advisory committee.
Fairbairn and fellow electoral area directors Bob Fleming (Area B, where the proposed property sits), Amanda Shatzko (Area C), Hank Cameron (Area E) and Denis DeLisle (Area F) all voted in favour of the staff recommendation at Wednesday’s regular board meeting, March 16.
The electoral area directors were the only ones to vote on the proposal.
Before the matter gets to second reading, the applicants must have comments from the RDNO parks department, First Nations, City of Vernon and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about the plan.
They must also hold a public information meeting, have confirmation from a geotechnical engineer that the property is safe for the intended use and hydrogeological study must be done to determine the impacts – if any – to the water supply of existing users.
The proponents must also have obtained approval from the Agricultural Land Commission as nearly 20 acres of the subject property are within the agricultural land reserve.
The transportation ministry is also asking for a road dedication for the property.
Fleming noted a couple of glaring absences from the proponents’ plan.
“It may just be the timing, but they presented a project where you’d think they might be expecting several hundred visitors a day at certain times, and that means a fair amount of water to use and a restaurant,” said Fleming. “So the restaurant means water and their only comment on water was they would drill a well and try to see if there’s water there. We know it’s a dry area. They had not done any work on providing water. There are no services there. No water, no sewer.”
The multi-million dollar gondola project would feature zip lines, restaurants, retail outlets, an outdoor light show area, wedding and event venues, tree forts, a playground, plaza, amphitheatre, trails and more.
The site would feature an amphitheatre and other amenities at the base of the gondola on the west side of Kalamalka Lake, near Bailey Road. The gondola would take visitors up to a mid-station featuring viewing platforms and trails through the surrounding forest, and then onto the summit station 1,600 feet above Kalamalka Lake.