Neighbours and city council are frustrated with a residential developer whose Okanagan Avenue project, they say, is creating more than an eyesore.
At its Monday meeting, council received two letters, one of which was signed by eight neighbours, regarding a property being developed for condos at 3161 Okanagan Ave. NE. The letters provide historical background to the development, which spans the past five years. The letters comment upon issues and concerns the neighbours have had with the developer, Broadview Properties Inc./Ratzlaff Development, and the way the property is being developed or, at the moment, not being developed.
City development services director Corey Paiement said the letters have been sent to the developer, and he’s hoping the property owners will be able to come up with solutions themselves. Council, however, was interested in what they could do.
Coun. Debbie Cannon asked about trees that were removed from the property without city approval. Paiement explained that at third reading for rezoning, council required that a covenant be put on the property prior to final reading restricting tree removal. The trees were then removed before the covenant could come into effect.
“The applicant was aware of that and he chose to remove the trees,” said Paiement, noting that while there’s no direct recourse for the city to take, the developer still requires fourth reading from council.
“When the applicant comes back to try and get his final reading, he’s going to have to explain the how and why of what happened,” said Paiement.
Couns. Cannon and Alan Harrison called the situation frustrating.
“Not all of the neighbours were in favour of the rezoning, but now it’s happened, they’d like the project to go ahead and they’d like the neighbourhood to return to a place where people want to live,” said Harrison. “And one of the big problems was, not only the trees were removed, but most of the vegetation was removed as well. So now, whenever the wind blows or there’s a big rain storm, all the soil flows off the property or gets blown around.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn later confirmed that, based on what’s happened, council does not have to approve fourth reading.