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Major Vernon lakeshore development looming

Another hurdle cleared for Port Okanagan on OK Lake, a mix of housing, parkland and commercial
This is part of the concept plan for Port Okanagan, a major development proposed by an Edmonton company for Vernon’s Okanagan Lake on Okanagan Landing Road at Lakeshore Road. (Contributed)

Vernon Coun. Akbal Mund says it will be nice to have Vernon join other Okanagan cities with a lakeshore development.

Fellow Coun. Scott Anderson calls the project a “game-changer” for Vernon.

Council has unanimously approved first and second reading of official community plan and rezoning bylaw amendment applications from Edmonton-based Avillia Developments for property in Okanagan Landing at 2525 Lakeshore Road and 7295 Okanagan Landing Road.

The applications are for the purpose of developing the properties into what will be called Port Okanagan, a comprehensive development along Okanagan Lake that will offer a range of shops, restaurants, services, parkland and naturalized areas along the lakeshore, along with a mix of residential dwellings and a resort hotel.

The site is designed to provide direct access for residents and visitors to amenities in a highly walkable environment.

“It’s taken us 155 years to build on the lake,” said Mund. “I’m very supportive of this project.”

Added Anderson: “It’s a huge project for Vernon, a game-changer for that entire side of the city, in my view…We’re one of the few cities that has a beach that has been ignored. We’re turning it into what it should be, something the public can enjoy.”

In a letter to council, Avillia president Patrick Shaver called Port Okanagan a project that “will provide for a great sense of community, a gathering place, and an exciting development in Vernon by creating a vibrant destination that we believe will be frequented by residents and visitors alike.”

The site plan has been developed around the wetland and creek, and the internal setbacks on site were established based on an environmental review and stream protection and enhancement area (SPEA) regulations.

The proposed development will consist of a mix of low-rise to mid-rise buildings up to 10 storeys with underground parking structures and at-grade parking.

“We are all working toward a common goal of a delivering a family-oriented place with a sense of community through collaboration, creativity, innovation, and quality design,” said Shaver.

The rezoning applications, he said, “accurately reflect the current watercourse of the Marshall Wetlands.”

“This proposal includes enhancements to the existing creek and wetland to minimize disruptions and better support fish habitats and ecology of the lakeshore, creek, and wetland,” said Shaver.

Coun. Teresa Durning felt it was appropriate council was discussing Avillia’s application during National Tourism Week.

“This (Port Okanagan) will be an amazing contributor and driver for our community,” said Durning. “I’m very grateful the environment is being considered and the wetlands being valued.”

A public hearing on both applications is set for Monday, June 27, at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

READ MORE: Resort hotel and village proposed on Okanagan Lake in Vernon

READ MORE: Vernon main street pedestrian plaza approved

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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