Kelowna spends $11.9M on buf­fer for city dump

De­vel­op­ers sell 74 hectares near land­fill after city re­jected their pro­posal for 1,000 homes on prop­erty

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By STEVE MacNAULL

The City of Kelowna is now the owner of 74 hectares of land it de­cided wasn’t suitable for de­vel­op­ment be­cause the prop­erty is near the city dump.

Last March, the city de­nied Troika De­vel­op­ments’ pro­posal to build a 1,000-home, mas­ter­planned com­mu­nity east of Glen­more Road and south of John Hin­dle Drive, say­ing it was too close to the land­fill.

In pos­ses­sion of 74 hectares it couldn’t do any­thing with, Troika, the joint-ven­ture part­ner with landown­ers Len and Mar­lene Tonn, ap­proached the city un­so­licited to un­load the prop­erty.

This week, the deal was fi­nal­ized and the city pur­chased the par­cel just south of the dump for $11.9 mil­lion.

“After be­ing ap­proached, we dis­cussed it in­ter­nally and did our due dili­gence and de­cided to ac­quire the land as a buf­fer to the land­fill’s po­ten­tial dust, noise and odour,” said the city’s di­rec­tor of strate­gic in­vest­ments, Jo­hannes Sauf­ferer.

“We paid what is con­sid­ered fair mar­ket value. It will sim­ply be a buf­fer. There will be no pub­lic ac­cess to the land and it won’t be­come part of land­fill op­er­a­tions.”

The city also has buf­fer zones to the north, east and west of the dump, so this lat­est pur­chase com­pletes the sur­round.

Money from the city’s land­fill re­serves was used for the pur­chase, so prop­erty taxes won’t go up to cover the trans­ac­tion.

The land was pre­vi­ously owned by the Tonns, their son and his fam­ily, and sup­ported a cat­tle and hay op­er­a­tion.

They en­tered a joint-ven­ture con­tract with Re­nee Wa­sy­lyk of Troika De­vel­op­ments to re­al­ize the vi­sion of Di­a­mond Moun­tain.

While ini­tially sup­port­ive, the city changed its mind after a nui­sance re­port sug­gested noise, dust and odour from the dump may an­noy fu­ture res­i­dents of Di­a­mond Moun­tain.

That could have re­sulted in not only com­plaints from res­i­dents, but law­suits that could force the city to spend big money on land­fill retrofits or even close the dump years ear­lier than planned.

Wa­sy­lyk claimed Di­a­mond Moun­tain was far enough away from the dump and the city was be­ing overzeal­ous.

“I wanted to keep work­ing on a solution,” Wa­sy­lyk told The Okana­gan Week­end on Fri­day.

“But I won’t be able to make Di­a­mond Moun­tain hap­pen. The landown­ers wanted to move on, so the land was sold. I’m heart­bro­ken for them be­cause the dream of Di­a­mond Moun­tain won’t be re­al­ized. It leaves me out in the cold (fi­nan­cially), but that’s OK. I’m not one to live in the past. I want to move on­ward and up­ward.”

That in­cludes con­tin­u­ing to de­velop com­mu­ni­ties, as Troika has been do­ing for years with the likes of West Har­bour and Green Square.

Wa­sy­lyk also is seeking the Con­ser­va­tive nom­i­na­tion in the Kelowna-Lake Coun­try rid­ing to run for MP in the next fed­eral elec­tion, in Oc­to­ber.

And she is lob­by­ing for mod­ern­iza­tion of the Kelowna land­fill.

“Bury­ing garbage is so yesterday,” she said.

“Kelowna needs to be uti­liz­ing waste as an en­ergy source to cre­ate elec­tric­ity. It’s already be­ing done in the Lower Main­land and all over Europe. UBC Okana­gan, which is in closer prox­im­ity to the land­fill than Di­a­mond Moun­tain would have been, has eight waste en­ergy ex­perts who can help.”

Spe­cial to The Okana­gan Week­end

After block­ing a 1,000-home de­vel­op­ment plan for Di­a­mond Moun­tain, the City of Kelowna has pur­chased the 74 hectares south of the Kelowna dump for $11.9 mil­lion.

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