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Development picks up pace in Kelowna

An artist
An artist's conception of the proposed Collett Manor, including the existing 1913 Collett House (foreground), proposed for the hospital district; it was given another extension as the developers are said to finally be on a positive track for financing.
— image credit: Contributed

Development once again appears the salient point of Kelowna city council's meetings.

Monday afternoon, the councillors were moving forward with several plans for zoning changes to allow for neighbourhood build-out, including a 343-unit mixed use development off Harvey Avenue below Dilworth Mountain.

"What excites me about this proposal is we could have a great multi-modal pathway along the rail corridor," said Coun. Colin Basran, pointing to the parkland promised in the deal.

The proposal took three years to develop and includes housing underneath the Dilworth Homes neighbourhood at Christina Place and Mt. Baldy Drive. It would see a mix of low-rise condos and row-housing, similar to development done in West Vancouver on the slope behind Park Royal Shopping Mall.

Located near the end of Enterprise Way, the area was never zoned for this level housing density; however, the city councillors unanimously agreed to move it forward to public hearing knowing it is in a very populate area.

The major caveat for the developer will be to prove the new homes are worth a slice in another hillside.

"You look at some of the things that are happening in the upper Rutland area and the Black Mountain area, where we're seeing hillsides literally terraced," said Coun. Robert Hobson. "…I wouldn't want the hillside to look totally altered (like that)."

City staff penned an extensive set of development guidelines for hillsides from 2006-2011 to try an prevent environmental and visual degradation and in his presentation city planner Ryan Smith emphasized just how aware the developer is of the work, noting the development began as the Hillside Development Guidelines project wrapped up.

Should the condo and townhouse complex go through, the city would gain access to another large section of the Mill Creek and, potentially, the Canadian National rail corridor to keep the Rails With Trails project inching closer to the university.

In addition to this major proposal, the councillors also passed new carriage house design guidelines on to second reading, which should help alleviate some of the neighbourhood pressures by keeping roof lines lower and restricting the size of the sub-dwellings.

It was decided Alexander Tull's proposal to build a fourplex on Ponto Avenue near Centennial Park in Rutland will go to public hearing tries to get the land rezoned to begin the process, and a proposal for a new one-store commercial building and restaurant on Harvey Avenue at Burch Road was also sent to public hearing.

The council granted John and Alana Marrington another extension for the hospital-area development they have been planning as city staff noted the pair believe their financing will soon come through on the long-anticipated housing project. They also sent a new hospital development zone to public hearing and set the wheels in motion for another rezoning to add housing to the fast-developing Aberdeen Hall corridor near UBCO.

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