A wildlife rehabilitation centre proposed for southeast Kelowna will move ahead despite concerns from city staff.
Council voted unanimously to allow Wild Things Rehabilitation Society to set up shop on land at 2605 O’Rielly Road. Staff is not against the operation, but objects to where structures on the property would be placed. The preference is an area at the bottom of the environmentally-sensitive land that has already been modified.
Wild Things founder Sydney Platz said the site they chose, in the central part of the property, has a larger cleared area and an unpaved road that was cleared by previous work.
“It is in the best interest of the animals to keep this site as natural as possible,” said Platz. “Respectfully, we argue that our design does achieve this working with pre-existing conditions.”
Concerns from council included noise and increased traffic affecting neighbouring properties.
“We will not be open to the public, so we do not feel this will noticeably increase traffic to the area,” added Platz. “No one will know we are there, and that’s what we want.”
Coun. Charlie Hodge noted such operations can start small and get large quickly.
“Because you can’t say no,” he said.
Platz said after initial treatment many animals would be transferred to other rehabilitation centres in the province.
“We could be moving further outside the city to accommodate a large site about five to 10 years down the road,” she added.
Wild Things would treat small mammals, such as squirrels and chipmunks, and small songbirds as permitted by a provincial permit.