Last spring, Councillor Mike Kent of Peachland publicly stated that in order for Peachland residents to install elevator equipment, legal changes would have to be made to the Official Community Plan – and that it was a precedent he didn’t want to start in Peachland.
This Tuesday, Peachland Council is being advised to make a change to that very same current OCP in order to keep approval for a five-storey high rise on Beach Avenue they questioningly approved at the recommendations of their planning department.
It now appears Peachland’s lawyers (and the very same planning department) do not like the District’s odds of succeeding in court against a petition challenging this development approval because of the strong language in our OCP.
The possible legal advice for this inexperienced Council is to backpedal for a late “five-storey approval” and change the OCP wording now to fit their approval-the total opposite protocol for development in any town.
Their hindsight decision is a protective process, not a transparent way to operate and manage our town.
Council members like Terry Condon and others who did not whole heartedly support approving a development in direct opposition to the OCP must now feel a sense of liberation at the opportunity to rescind their previous approval decisions.
Now this would be precedent setting.
Councillor Kent had no problem being the sole voice on council to veto the elevator decision above, perhaps he will display the same courage in leadership for sober and independent thought to prevail and prevent the absolute power of the planning department to become a norm. More councillors need to exercise this approach.
Last month Councillor Mike Kent also publicly declared his intent to run for Municipal elections in British Columbia scheduled for Oct. 20, 2018.
Committed to running again are councillors Pam Cunningham, Keith Thom and mayor Fortin. Councillor Kent’s actions, along with those of his fellow council members on this issue will certainly spotlight all election issues, the small wording amendment quietly encouraged to remodel our OCP has the enormous potential to refigure our town, physically and politically.