Photo: City of Kelowna
A proposed resort and spa in the Shannon Lake area of West Kelowna hit a roadblock at the council table on Tuesday.
With advice. With Jayson Zilkie missing from the proceedings, the board found itself at an impasse over whether to advance the controversial destination station to a public hearing, or stop it dead in its tracks.
Since the remaining six elected were evenly split 3-3, any motion put to a vote would automatically fail since ties are considered a defeat of any motion.
“You’ve created a conundrum that’s why there are never six members on a board,” chief executive Paul Gipps said after the vote.
“Every move will fail.”
Council has been asked to give first and second reading to the Official Community Plan and Zoning By-law amendments to allow the proposed resort to proceed to a public hearing.
The resort in question, which faced strong opposition from the nearby community, included a spa and treatment resort comprising a hotel with up to 172 rooms, 10 tourist cabins, conference and meeting space, a 150-seat bistro and restaurant, retail space and a staff apartment with up to 12 units.
Councilors Carol Zanon, Doug Findlater and Rick de Jong have strongly opposed the zoning and OCP changes, suggesting that housing, not a resort, would be better suited to the Shannon View Drive area.
Zanon said the project has a number of positive aspects, including employment and tourism opportunities, but, quoting the lyrics of an Ella Fitzgerald song, says…
“It’s the wrong time and the wrong place. I thought your face was lovely, it’s the wrong face.”
She says the province has made it clear that some municipalities are creating barriers to housing, which she says the city needs “yesterday.”
Mayor Gord Milsom and Councilors Stephen Johnston and Jason Friesen all voted to move the project forward, although it was emphasized that support for moving the process forward for more input did not necessarily mean support for the development itself.
“I hear residents’ concerns,” Johnston said.
“I want to make sure we look at what the impact is. Blindly saying that R3 (residential zoning) is better…I don’t believe it’s in the best interest of the neighborhood.”
They also wanted to use the process to understand the impact of a resort on traffic compared to a potential construction of 50 to 140 townhouses in the area.
While the council, but by virtue of the bond, rejected the project as presented for now, it could still come back in its current form.
The mayor may, at his discretion, request that any request be brought back to council for reconsideration. It is likely that he would only do so if there were indications that the vote might swing the other way.
Milsom has used this discretion once before, when the council rejected a provincial request for a government cannabis store in the Westbank Town Center Mall in the summer of 2019.
They voted for the second time, but ultimately rejected the idea when the government asked to reduce the size of the store.