West Kelowna  

Dozens more permits issued as McDougall Creek fire rebuild ramps up

Fire rebuild ramps up

UPDATE 10:20 a.m.

The Westbank First Nation says all demolitions have been completed for the 12 single-family homes affected by the fire in the Royal Heights neighbourhood.

Demolition has also wrapped up at 1525 Bear Creek Road and at the 4-plex at 1555 Bear Creek Road.

The WFN says construction is currently underway with valid permits on five houses in the neighbourhood.

ORIGINAL 4:00 a.m.

Rebuilding in the wake of the McDougall Creek wildfire is proving to be a slow process.

As of May 24, the City of West Kelowna had issued 40 demolition permits and 14 building permits to people whose homes or outbuildings were destroyed or damaged in the inferno last August.

Of those 14 building permits, eight were for total structures, three were for renovations due to partial loss, one was for a manufactured home, one was for a carriage house and one was for an accessory building. One of the applications was a blasting permit.

The City of West Kelowna says another 10 permit applications are under review. Three of those are for total single-family homes, one is a carriage house, three are for accessory buildings and three are demolition permits.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has received 73 demolition permit applications so far. It has issued 71, of which 36 are complete. Fifteen building permit applications have been filed with the RDCO and 13 have been issued as of May 22, 2024.

The numbers are an improvement from a couple of months ago. Back in early March, RDCO had issued 66 demolition permits, but only one building permit while the City of West Kelowna had issued 40 demolition permits but had only received one building permit application.

Progress was moving a bit more quickly on Westbank First Nation land. Castanet spoke to ARG Contracting in March as they were about to begin excavation work on four rebuild projects in the Royal Heights neighbourhood.

For those who had property at Lake Okanagan Resort, the process is likely to be much slower. Not only do many have to go through their own insurance companies before construction can begin, they also have to wait for claims made by strata councils. There has also been little to no information about whether the company that operates the resort plans to rebuild infrastructure like water and sewer systems.

One man who recently called Castanet said he had been living in a mobile home on the property where his condo once stood at Lake Okanagan Resort but was told by the RDCO that he must leave.

Arturo Peralta said he has been struggling to get a building permit and said the resort has been doing nothing to clean up the site.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said the McDougall Creek wildfire and destructive fires in the Shuswap in 2023 caused an estimated $720 million in insured losses.

More West Kelowna News