The movement against a proposed 300-plus home development in the Naramata Bench area is gaining steam.
The housing development proposed by Canadian Horizons would be built on the land adjacent to the Campbell Mountain landfill, south of the Three Blind Mice recreational area.
Naramata residents who oppose the development have now launched a new website (preservenaramatabench.com) and formed the Society for the Preservation of the Naramata Bench to voice concerns about the development.
The aim of the society and website is to “gather like-minded community members to voice their concern and opposition to the rezoning and increased density” of the proposed development, reads a release from the society.
A rezoning application seeking permission to begin construction on the development has been presented to the City of Penticton by Canadian Horizons.
The proposal is due to go to public consultation and be put to a vote by Penticton City Council in early 2021. The plans have prompted outcry from some nearby residents and a petition against the development has garnered over 10,000 signatures.
Some concerned locals like David Kozier think the development is too dense for the area.
“Naramata Bench and our natural environment are irreplaceable,” said Kozier. “The density proposed by Canadian Horizons does not belong within the sensitive environmental ecosystem, prime agriculture land and the heart of Penticton’s wine and tourism industries. Given the response to our petition, we know many others in our community and beyond share this view and are alarmed that the pristine hills of the Naramata Bench are in jeopardy.”
“If this proposal is accepted, it may open the door for further development towards the Three Blind Mice recreational area.”
Penticton’s director of development services, Blake Laven said the area has been earmarked for residential development by the city’s Official Community Plan since 2005.
Canadian Horizons has owned the land since 2006 and the company has done “comprehensive planning” on the land and surrounding area since they took ownership, Laven previously told the Western News.
Laven said the city has received “several pieces” of feedback from the community regarding the development. “Traffic is a big question that people bring up, the environment, rural character, drainage… there’s a lot of things that people bring up.”
If the rezoning application is approved city council, Canadian Horizons plan to start early phases of construction in the first half of 2021.