Apartment project gets OK
Colin Dacre - Nov 06, 2019 - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

A 180-unit rental apartment development in the south end of Penticton has received the unanimous support of city council.

“It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to that end of the city for a long, long time,” Mayor John Vassilaki said following a public hearing Tuesday night that saw about a dozen residents speak mostly in favour of the project while voicing concerns about traffic.

Highstreet Ventures is building a pair of 5.5-storey, 90-unit apartment buildings at 3790 South Main St., currently the Lake Skaha Tent and Trailer Park.

Company vice-president Christina Wilson noted Penticton’s rental vacancy rate of just 1.7 per cent, saying “We recognized a need for rental apartments.”

The project, once complete, will consist of eight per cent of the entire city’s year-round rental stock. Wilson said the units will feature nine-foot ceilings, quartz countertops and stainless appliances. “You wouldn’t recognize going into our apartments, between ours and maybe an entry-level condo.”

“It’s a big building, but I also think that there is a reality of people needing rental homes,” nearby resident Bob Vincent said during the public hearing. “It’s a good use of the property, I know there’s going to be more traffic, but I don’t think it’s going to be horrible.”

A traffic study determined the project will generate about 61 extra vehicles an hour in the morning and 78 in the evening.

Council heard from residents seeking traffic calming on Lee Avenue, as well as a request for a sidewalk on Crescent Hill Road. Other residents pushed the city to install a new crosswalk on South Main Street near the development.

Planning manager Blake Laven said the city will be conducting a city-wide transportation study next year and will pay considerable attention to the area but said city staff did not feel justified forcing the developer to install a new crosswalk or other traffic calming measures in the neighbourhood.

“When we reviewed it, it was a pre-existing situation that we didn’t feel this development was making worse,” Laven said.

Mayor Vassilaki, who lives in the area, agreed.

“When it comes to speeders and parking, we’ve had those issues there … for the last 25 years,” Vassilaki said, explaining he’s been pressing the RCMP and provincial government on the issue “with no success.”

Coun. Katie Robinson said it “warms the heart” that the developer has decided to build rental stock rather than high-end condos in such an attractive area.

The development will include 276 parking spaces, 40 per cent of which are underground. The unit mix will be 138 two-bedroom units and 42 one-bedroom suites. A common area with kitchen for larger social functions, gym space, outdoor social space, dog run and community garden will also be included.

It will also utilize solar power to ensure all common areas are “net zero.”

The developer says they plan on starting construction, which will take about 14 to 16 months in December.

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