Some members of Penticton city council are nervous about a suggested 500-metre development buffer around the Campbell Mountain Landfill.
Citing concerns raised in a nuisance assessment report, the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on Thursday voted 16-3 to send a letter to the city suggesting the buffer be incorporated into the Official Community Plan update.
A draft version of the OCP update that’s currently out for public consultation identifies an area immediately north of the landfill — which is owned by the city but operated by the RDOS — for future residential development.
The three votes in opposition were from Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Couns. Julius Bloomfield and Jake Kimberley, all of whom also serve as RDOS directors. Penticton’s other RDOS director, Coun. Frank Regehr, voted in favour of sending the letter.
Kimberley said afterwards the three are concerned about applying a relatively arbitrary buffer around the landfill that could impact existing development in the area.
The letter states the RDOS supports the draft OCP in principal because it contains “numerous goals and policies for sustainable long-term growth that are in alignment with the RDOS Regional Growth Strategy and reflect best planning practices.”
“However, there is still one critical aspect of the draft City of Penticton OCP Bylaw that is problematic for the RDOS. Specifically, the future residential development planned adjacent to the Campbell Mountain Landfill site may not align with our shared goal of extending the life of the Campbell Mountain Landfill or protecting Penticton residents from hazards and nuisances.”
“The RDOS believes that the OCP could be placing the Campbell Mountain Landfill, local residents and area ratepayers at significant risk and cost due to future land use conflicts.”
A staff report cites as examples the old Okanagan Falls sewage treatment plant and Westside Landfill, both of which were closed earlier this decade due to conflicts with encroaching residential development.
The report also notes that in 2018, the City of Kelowna turned down a proposed 1,000-unit residential development because part of it would have come within 400 metres of the composting area at the Glenmore Landfill. Kelowna earlier this year paid the developer $11.9 million for 74 hectares of the planned development area to be used as a permanent buffer around the landfill.
Penticton’s OCP update has been in the works since July 2016 with an original budget of $250,000 and completion date of fall 2018. As of April, the new OCP was expected to be presented to council in May or June. The current OCP was completed in 2002.