Central Green compromises seek reaction from public

The Central Green development on the old Kelowna Secondary School site is a substantial endeavor, but when it’s presented to the public for feedback next month the opposition is expected to be minimal.

“We’ve made our compromises,” said Coun. Robert Hobson about the proposed 13 acre development at Richter and Harvey Avenues.

Based on a staff recommendation a year ago, council voted to drop its requirement for affordable housing from 20 per cent of the 700 or so units the development will eventually contain down to 15 per cent.

At that time, they also agreed to pull back on plans to have all the buildings in Central Green be certified to a LEED Gold standard. Instead, the project will aim for LEED Gold Neighbourhood status, with all buildings LEED certified, the lowest rating.

“We got our density and mixed use,” said Hobson.

“I think it’s a great project. Three generations of my family went to school there, and it’s worthy of all of them.”

Central Green, said urban land use manager Danielle Noble, will include two hectares of community park space surrounded by three hectares of residential housing, along with retail and public amenities.

Creating a buffer of sorts, the bulk of the height and density in the development is deigned to butt into the highway.

That means buildings  of 16, 18 and 20 storeys  will front along Harvey Avenue.

“This project will secure affordable housing as an essential component of the master plan,” she said.

In addition to moving the development itself along in the approval process, council entered into an agreement with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to accommodate the 700 residential units.

One of those changes include an overpass near the corner of Highway 97 and Richter Street that could cost about $1-million.

That wouldn’t happen until the final phase of the project, which could be 15 years in the future.

As the city prepares to rezone the property and then seek development partners, the aim is to create manageable parcels in which a number of development companies can share in the process of building sustainably.

Council gave first reading to a rezoning application for the Central Green project on April 11.

A public hearing on the rezoning application  will be held Tuesday, May 3, at city hall.



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