Water concerns have put a proposed BX rezoning application on hold until more studies are conducted.
Nodding Hills Development Ltd. has proposed rezoning three subject properties on McLennan Road from non-urban and country residential to small holdings in order to subdivide them into 16 lots. Two readings of the proposed changes have been read, leading to a public hearing before the application can proceed to third reading.
A 75-minute hearing on the application was held Wednesday at the Regional District of North Okanagan prior to the regular board meeting and drew close to 40 people. The hearing was held in front of RDNO’s five electoral area directors who would vote on the application.
Electoral Area C BX-Silver Star director Amanda Shatzko, during the regular board meeting, asked for a deferral on the application until the technical feasibility of providing a community water system for the surrounding area has been done.
“There are some concerns from residents about the water, and I do respect engineers and their reports. I believe that’s accurate,” said Shatzko, referring to a hydro-geological groundwater assessment prepared by Vernon-based Western Water Associations Ltd., who reported there are sufficient groundwater resources on the proposed site to support 15 residential lots without negatively affecting existing wells in the neighbourhood that use the local aquifer.
A number of people spoke against the application at the public hearing including Craig Gallagher, whose major concern was the sustainability of the water supply.
“We have already endured the hardships of a well that ceased to produce water,” said Gallagher, who said his well ran dry in 2010 shortly after he and his family moved in, and that they suffered financial hardship after having to drill a new well. He said those fears have been resurfaced by the Nodding Hill application.
“This is the B.C., one of the most historic areas of Vernon and one that is proudly rural and beautiful,” he said. “None of us want this development in any size, shape or form.”
Joshua Galloway is the developer behind Nodding Hills. He said the subject properties total 30.74 hectares on gently sloping lands not located in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“Our application is consistent with area properties,” said Galloway. “It will not have a negative effect on the rural character of the area.”
Directors also heard that 11 written submissions had been received (eight opposed, three in favour), including two petitions. One petition in favour of the application had 119 signatures representing 89 properties, though Gallagher pointed out the majority of those signatures were from areas outside Greater Vernon and not near the application.
The petition opposed had 33 signatures representing 28 properties, all from the surrounding area.
The five electoral area directors voted unanimously to defer the application until September after the feasibility study is conducted.