Water key in Grindrod debate

Potential development in the Grindrod area is generating debate among politicians and residents.

Potential development in the Grindrod area is  generating debate among politicians and residents.

Instead of automatically granting approval, the Regional District of North Okanagan will do another review of proposed land use and zoning changes for 126 hectares on Hadow Road at Grandview Bench.

“We should be cautious about allowing this to go ahead,” said director Mike Macnabb.

If rezoning and official community plan changes  ultimately proceed, up to 16 lots could be developed. A subdivision plan has not been submitted.

“Nearby properties have a problem with water and some are going dry,” said Macnabb.

Availability of water was the primary issue during a public hearing Wednesday.

“We watch people haul water,” said Karen Dittloff, who farms in the area.

“We want assurances our water won’t disappear when development happens. Take our water and our livelihood is gone.”

The area is served by wells, and as part of the rezoning process, the applicant conducted a hydrological study, which indicates sufficient supply.

But the results didn’t go over well with resident Terri Everest.

“Only four wells were monitored during test pumping. It’s too small to generalize from,” she said.

“Testing  of wells should be done at other times of the year rather than just when there is runoff.”

Everest added that global warming could impact the ability of wells to replenish themselves.

The property is currently zoned comprehensive resort development. But owner Michael Rabe wants to zone 8.9 hectares to country residential and 117.6 hectares to multi-lot subdivision.

“We want to get it back to the original zoning,” he said, adding that he is not interested in a golf course and resort, which the current zoning permits.

“It doesn’t fit in the area. I live there too.”

Based on the hydrological study, Rabe says he is confident there is sufficient water.

While RDNO staff had recommended third reading for zoning and OCP amendments,  the board decided to send it to the Electoral Area Advisory Committee for further discussion.

“If water is such an issue, how do they get it (previously zoned) to 250 units and a golf course?” said director Bob Fleming.