A proposed new residential development on the former McMechan reservoir site in Vernon will next go to the public for feedback.
Stoni Consolidated Holdings of Kelowna is planning 172 lots of mixed housing types on the 20 acre site on 39th Avenue near Mutrie Road
The city’s long range planner, Cleo Corbett, says a small lot residential neighbourhood concept is being proposed, with single family homes, duplexes, townhouses, and row housing.
“We’re also working with the developer on exploring options for ten percent of the units to be attainable or affordable housing. We’re working with Social Planning Council, the affordable housing committee, and Vernon Land Trust to look at their opportunities,” Corbett told council.
Pictured: Graham Illingworth, CEO Stoni Consolidated Holdings
The city has a deal with the developer (Stoni) to sell the land for 6.5 million dollars.
Graham Illingworth, CEO of Stoni Consolidated Holdings, says the project would be built in phases over five years, with up to 40 homes a year, if the market supports that.
People can provide input at engagevernon.ca and at a public house Jan 31 from 4 to 7 pm at the Vernon Rec Centre.
City council voted 6 to 1 in support of sending the proposal to get public input.
Councillor Scott Anderson was the lone opponent, concerned the land wasn’t put on the open market.
“If we’re going to rezone a property. it should be on the merits of the rezoning. If it’s a good thing to do, then it should be rezoned. If it’s not, it should be up to developers to bid on the property, on its own merits, and then build on it,” Anderson told CJIB News.
Anderson calls it a “behind closed doors deal” which he doesn’t think the public is on board with.
“I’ve seen the letters in the paper, everybody I’ve talked to, seems to think the same idea that this is sort of a behind closed doors deal, and then it’s put forward.”
Anderson called it an ‘under-handed” deal in council chambers, but later retracted that when councillor Juliette Cunningham objected.
“It clearly was behind closed doors. The city and a developer arranged this and then brought it to council,” adds Anderson.
Cunningham says she took exception to Anderson calling it under handed.
“We have not done anything that isn’t within our jurisdiction under the Local Government Act,” said Cunningham.
Several council members spoke in favour of the plan.
“It’s a very good plan. Well thought out and quite innovative,” said Brian Quiring.
“I’m quite amazed at this plan. I like the density and that there is movement in the complex, it’s more like a neighborhood,” said Catherine Lord.
“I like it more every time I see it,” said Juliette Cunningham. “It’s thinking outside the box, and a healthier way to build a community, using a mix of housing.”
“I think the plan looks great. It’s what we need,” said Mayor Akbal Mund, noting the units could be attractive to people planing to move to the Okanagan from the Lower Mainland.