Councillors didn’t make any effort to prevent developers from having their way with the green space at Turner Properties.
The site was rezoned from public institutional to R3 Residential after a unanimous vote on Tuesday.
Many members of the public encouraged the District to try harder to purchase the property. But Coun. Peter Schierbeck said buying the land would cost more than $1,100 from every Peachlander.
“Out of the question,” he said.
Under the property’s current zoning designation, Public/Institutional, Schierbeck pointed out how the owners could build a halfway house or seniors home without any public consultation. He believes the area would be better utilized as residential.
“The end has come,” Schierbeck said. “We have enjoyed using this area for a number of years. Thank you property owners who allowed us to use it. Now life must go on.”
Coun. Mario Vucinovic said he understands why many members of the public don’t want to see Turner Park go, but it sits on private property and the owners have decided that it’s time to develop. And while it will be sad to see the loss of a small soccer and baseball field, he’s confident that the District can replace them with better sporting facilities.
The facilities at Turner are only good for bush leaguers, and Vucinovic wants “Something bigger that can actually host a small tournament. Have children that can actually say, ‘I’m on a Peachland team.’ Hopefully that happens sooner than later.”
Coun. Pam Cunningham worries that if zoning isn’t changed, a “big facility” will likely be built. With that would come immense traffic, delivery trucks and alarms, she said.
Coun. Keith Thom felt similarly.
“In my opinion, we don’t really have an option: square boxes or homes,” he said.
The public can expect buildings 30 to 40 feet tall if the property remains Public/Institutional, Thom said.
“We’ll have no say in form and character, no requirement for green space.”
The new 34-lot subdivision is what Peachland needs to accommodate young families and downsizing seniors, said Thom.
Mayor Cindy Fortin, who sat with a placard in front of her that read “Is it good for Children?”, said the new subdivision will be a good addition to Peachland.
After listening to the public and fielding concerns about density, she recently visited the property and doesn’t feel as though 34 units will be too many.
“If you don’t go around and purchase all the properties around you, you can’t be guaranteed a view.”
Fortin said she understands how important the sportsbox is to the community, but a new one will hopefully be built at a higher location, where lower temperatures will allow for healthier ice conditions in the winter.
As for losing the playground on Turner, “I know it’s the only one in that area but it’s not that good,” Fortin said, adding that a new structure for toddlers will be built as part of the new subdivision.
Although construction will cause some disturbances, “Yeah there will be a little bit of noise but that’s not going to go on forever,” she said.
Coun. Terry Condon did not vote on the issue because he lives within 100 metres of the site and could be perceived as being in conflict of interest. Coun. Mike Kent was absent. Council voted 5 – 0 to pass third reading.