Kelowna council approves rezoning for Glenmore strip mall
After being dragged into a debate over what businesses should be allowed to set up shop in Glemmore, Kelowna city council has given initial approval to a plan to rezone land on Kane Road for a new strip mall.
The 45,000-square-foot project, which the applicants said will include a Coopers grocery store, a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy and several other smaller stores and services, would be located beside the existing Glen Park Centre strip mall. It houses Glenmore's only existing grocery store, an IGA.
Garry Frawley of PC Urban Properties, which together with land owner OCORP Development Ltd is proposing the new commercial centre, said a market study shows the need for another grocery store in the area. But a lawyer for the owners of Glen Park disagreed and slammed the study while urging council not to allow the replication of what is already there.
Marc Whittemore said the current population served by stores in the area is only half the 25,000 identified in Frawley's market study.
His comments raised concern with with one city councillor and sparked a debate over what businesses should be allowed to set up shop in the proposed strip mall.
"I'm shocked that your client doesn't want competition," said Coun. Andre Blanleil.
Blanleil, owner of the popular Andre's chain of electronics stores, said in the electronics business, large retailers like Best Buy, Future Shop and his stores usually cluster in the same area and that promotes competition.
Whittemore suggested council approve a rezoning for the land at the corner of Kane and Valley Roads but give it a lower level of zoning so as to attract smaller "speciality" stores.
His exchange with Blanleil prompted a lengthy discussion about competition between tenants of the two commercial developments during the pubic hearing Tuesday night to address the rezoning application.
In the end, council voted to approve the rezoning as recommended by city staff and praised an agreement between OCORP and an adjacent land owner to swap properties so the commercial area could be developed along with with two areas of multi-family . The multi-family developments would be accessed from a future extension of Drysdale Road.
"Commercial is the right designation for the property," said Coun. Gail Given in supporting the rezoning application.
She said while she was not sure which businesses should be located there, she added that should not be not council's concern.