Buoyed by a fresh wave of public opposition, Summerland Council sank another mooring attempt on Monday for an upmarket waterfront development.
“Three years after asking for assurances and receiving assurances that there would be no (dock), I just can’t do it,” Coun said. Doug Holmes.
“These are the reasons why people don’t trust developers and they are also the reasons why people don’t trust politicians. For me, it’s a bigger problem than just this dock.
The public only learned last year of plans for a 50-berth marina to service the 24-unit Oasis luxury residences at 13415 Lakeshore Dr. after the developer began consultation before asking the government to British Columbia to be the licensee to build it.
In response, the council began rezoning that section of the waterfront to add more bylaws which effectively scuttled the 50-slot marina plan.
The rezoning was officially passed Monday evening, followed immediately by the request from Summy Holdings Corp. of a waiver to the new rules to allow a 160 meter dock extending directly into the lake with 32 boat ramps.
The discrepancy was unanimously rejected by the council, which received a total of 161 pieces of correspondence on this subject: 140 against and 21 in favour.
Holmes said the concerns that emerged in the correspondence — public access, water safety, environmental protection, etc. – were of the same nature as those expressed by the public three years ago when council approved the rezoning of the land portion of the Oasis project.
At the time, representatives of the development company repeatedly stated in public meetings that the project did not envisage any kind of docking.
“We were never even told that it might be considered later down the road. It was an unequivocal no. And we rezoned this property based on that understanding,” Holmes said.
“I think for the community to support development – especially big, high-profile developments like this – we need to be sure the developers will do what they say they’re going to do.”
However, the then promoter had at least one private discussion with district staff about the possibility of docking for Oasis.
Evidence of this was contained in the council agenda in the form of a December 2019 letter to the developer from Corrine Gain, former Summerland District Development Services Manager, in which Gain states that the zoning in place at the time “supports the concept of a marina at this location.”
But that’s a moot point now, said Robin Nasserdeen, one of Oasis’ partners, who suggested Monday’s debate was supposed to be about applying variance, not about the Oasis plus project. wide.
“We’ve always worked to be proactive and it feels like a done deal – the decision was made before we got there,” Nasserdeen said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Nasserdeen, who is also concerned that elected officials are setting a precedent by moving the project’s goal posts after construction begins, said his group will take time to study the council’s decision before deciding whether to we have to keep looking for mooring or “other options available to us”.
No building permit is required for the docks and the ultimate decision rests with the Government of British Columbia.
Com. Richard Barkwill, who led efforts to rezone the water in front of Oasis, said he had major safety concerns over the proposed dock, given its proximity to the swimming area off Rotary Beach.
Com. Erin Trainer said the public outcry highlights the residents’ deep connection to the lake.
“As we continue to redevelop our foreshore and developments get higher and there is more density on the water, my main concern is that not every unit can be expected to build the along the water gets a boat slip. It’s not sustainable and we don’t have room for it,” Trainer said.
“The edge of the lake, what we have left, is really important to people. It is public access. It’s like a park. It’s something people are passionate about.
Mayor Toni Boot said she has additional concerns about an environmental assessment conducted on behalf of Summy Holdings Corp. which suggested that more work would be needed to understand the impacts of a dock on Rocky Mountain Ridge mussels, which are present in this part of the lake and listed as a special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act.