Water woes block subdivision

RDNO board refused to give third reading to a rezoning bylaw for a 15-lot subdivision at 7961 Silver Star Road.

Ongoing water shortages have doused development plans in a BX neighbourhood.

On Wednesday, the Regional District of North Okanagan board refused to give third reading to a rezoning bylaw that would have allowed for a 15-lot subdivision at 7961 Silver Star Road.

“It gives the applicant the opportunity to come back and change it,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, of the proposed subdivision.

Numerous residents in the area spoke against rezoning, saying that existing wells are seeing reduced flows from aquifers and the development could make the situation worse.

“Those already there are running out of water,” said one resident from Aspen Road.

Warren McCoubrey told the board that he has three failed wells on his Wilson Jackson Road property.

“The subdivision will be double the number of houses already with water issues. Is anyone looking at the big issue of sustainability?” he said.

Many residents spoke of having to truck water to their homes for domestic use because well water fluctuates throughout the year.

“In September and October, I have to take my laundry downtown and also have a quick bath,” said Gordon Weighill, who has lived in the area for 40 years.

However, a representative for the applicant stood by the proposal.

“Any wells drilled will have to meet regional district bylaws,” said hydrologist Ryan Rhodes, who added that he used desktop exercises for his report.

“I have based my assessment on what I’ve seen up there.”

Macnabb says the developer can look at reducing density on the site to gain rezoning or consider extending water lines from a nearby utility such as Greater Vernon.