Despite public pushback, historic home of Bogner's restaurant will be demolished and redeveloped

Bogner's will be demolished

It was a close vote, but a definitive one — the historic home that housed Bogner's restaurant in Penticton will be razed and redeveloped.

Following a public hearing Tuesday night in Penticton, city council voted 4-3 to give an early termination to a land-use contract that would have seen the Tudor-style home saved from redevelopment until 2024.

The home, located at 302 Eckhardt Avenue West, is more than 100 years old. A recent proposal from the owners is to demolish it and turn it into a three-storey commercial office building. But a land use contract from 1976 remains on the property allowing only the operation of a restaurant.

That contract will automatically expire in 2024, but developers requested that be changed early.

For more than an hour Tuesday night, members of the public and stakeholders spoke to council about the issue, with many expressing concerns that heritage value would be lost should the home be destroyed, and that the commercial nature of the new development would not fit the neighbourhood.

But ultimately, most of council decided change was due, just barely.

"The zoning allows for specific uses," Mayor Julius Bloomfield said.

"The zoning is a promise that the owner and the buyer of a property relies upon when they are planning the future of that property ... here we have a situation where we have a land use contract that was fairly specific to the use, and that is being disbanded by the province with due notice ... we'd be reneging on that [zoning] promise if we don't allow a development to take place."

The realtor involved in the proposed development agreed the proposed use is appropriate.

"This is an odd-shaped property ... [and] there's nothing to save," said Debra Moore, owner of realty company Re/Max Penticton, explaining the property needs many upgrades and has multiple issues like asbestos.

"[Preservation] sounds wonderful, and we certainly do want to preserve our heritage, [but] this is not a heritage-designated property. And I think it's really unfair to put that onus [on it]."

Couns. James Miller, Amelia Boultbee and Ryan Graham voted in opposition to lifting the land use contract, while Mayor Julius Bloomfield and Couns. Campbell Watt, Helena Konanz and Isaac Gilbert voted in favour, allowing the motion to pass.

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