Friends of Beach Avenue taking District to court

Opponents of PeachTree Village are hoping to take the District to court by challenging the legality of a five-storey building along Beach Avenue.

A group called Friends of Beach Avenue Peachland BC have hired a lawyer to defend the Official Community Plan, which calls for buildings to be no taller than three-storeys tall on the waterfront properties.

Friends of Beach Avenue member Randy Brophy said the legal challenge was filed on Wednesday morning in Kamloops.

Beyond the issue of building height exceeding the limit prescribed in the OCP, the Friends of Beach believe due process was not followed during the public hearing process. In the lead-up to approving the project, the District was dealing with a state of emergency due to flooding; third reading to rezone was passed late at night during a marathon council meeting; and Brophy says a petition with 985 names (at least 520 confirmed Peachlaners, he says) wasn’t given proper consideration.

“I feel betrayed,” Brophy said.

“It’s really unfortunate that this small group of people are against what is going to be a beneficial development in the downtown core,” said Mayor Cindy Fortin. “If this suit goes through – win or lose – it’s going to end up costing the taxpayers of Peachland.”

Fortin worries the legal challenge could deter other potential developers from investing in Peachland.

“I take a moderate stance – I don’t want to build the whole core up but we need some new development to brighten up the town.”

As of press deadline, Fortin said the District had not yet been served with legal notice. But whether or not the municipality finds itself in court, she doesn’t believe council stepped over any legal boundaries.

“The OCP is just a guideline, it’s not written in stone. It’s just a vision.”

Gaetan Royer, the man at the helm of PeachTree, said he hadn’t been serviced with legal notice as of Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m not aware if this is true or not but if it’s going to a legal process then I can’t comment on it,” he said.

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