On Monday, Kelowna city council will vote on whether or not to approve the Diamond Mountain Area Structure Plan (ASP), a new community plan hoping to bring housing to North Glenmore for families of all shapes, stages and scales of income.
With half the nearly ninety hectares being dedicated to natural areas and trails, solar power opportunities, reuse of storm water and environmentally minded design and materials, Diamond Mountain also aims to be “the greenest subdivision in Kelowna.”
“We want to bring to Kelowna a community that’s sustainable, that relieves the city’s affordable housing issue, that fits a real range of residents and families at different stages of life and scales of income,” says Renee Wasylyk, CEO of Troika Management Corp., the developer behind Diamond Mountain property.
“If the Area Structure Plan isn’t approved, the property is already zoned for Agricultural 1 (A1) so we would proceed with developing seventeen 10-acre lots that only the wealthy could afford, and the public parks, lookouts and trails would be lost”.
Wasylyk’s concerns stem from a City of Kelowna-commissioned report that explores how the North Glenmore Landfill could cause future odour, noise and dust nuisances in the area.
“What we’re hearing is two different interpretations of the same study,” says Wasylyk. “One interpretation is that there won’t be any additional impact for 100 years, and the other is that the additional impact is significant enough to prevent or at least alter development at Diamond Mountain and the rest of the Glenmore community.”
The former interpretation was previously used to approve the revised fill plan at the landfill. The May 2017 report-Assessment of Potential Nuisance Levels of Odour, Dust, Noise, Light & Litter-shows the 88-hectare Diamond Mountain hillside community planned for North Glenmore as the least affected and completely safe for residents. However, Diamond Mountain’s ASP will be presented to council without the City’s support.
If the city interprets the study as cause to turn down Diamond Mountain, existing communities with plans for future residential development, such as UBCO, could also be impacted.
“We are concerned about the potential impact of the report’s findings on our campus and on future housing development in the surrounding area,” says Deborah Buszard, UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UBC Okanagan. “We believe affordable, mixed housing development in proximity to the campus is in the interest of the community.”
Several subdivisions and neighbourhoods, including those of Quail Ridge, McKinley Landing and Wilden would also be affected by the same nuisances. According to the operation agreement (Operational Certificate 12218), the landfill is required to mitigate any nuisance it creates within its own site, but Wasylyk says that’s not happening.
“The nuisance report’s findings clearly identify that the landfill is not meeting this requirement.”