Minuscule opposition fails to stop two huge Kelowna projects

Opponents to city plans for a new parkade and a sell off of electric utility infrastructure fail to muster much support

In the end there was little opposition to the city’s plans to sell off its electric utility infrastructure and borrow millions to build a new downtown parkade and expand the existing Library parkade.

Kelowna’s city clerk validated the results of the alternate approval process for both projects Friday afternoon, saying opponents to the the sale of the city’s electrical utility assets to FortisBC Inc. for $55 million numbered just 91, or less than 0.1 per cent of electors. The process required 10 per cent of electors (9,484 residents) to sign petition forms in order to either force a vote or halt the plan. The city will now proceed with its deal with FortisBC and plans to invest the money in the company by buying shares.

The alternate approval process requires opponents to register opposition rather than the city to seek approval.

There was more opposition expressed to the city’s plan to borrow $15 million to help fund the construction of a new parkade on land between Memorial Arena and the Kelowna Heritage Museum but it was still far below the 10 per cent needed.

That process received 165 petition forms, or less than 0.2 per cent of electors and that was also insufficient to force the city to either hold a vote on the plan or scrap it all together. The city will now proceed with a borrowing bylaw.

The new parkade will be built to provide parking for a planned new office tower at the corner of Doyle Avenue and Ellis Street to house as many 1,000 Interior Health Authority workers.

Kelowna’s mayor Walter Gray said Thursday he believes the IHA building project will be a major catalyst for the future of downtown Kelowna.

Both alternative approval processes concluded at 4 p.m. on Friday.

City Council will receive a certificate of sufficiency for each process on Monday during the afternoon council meeting.

The sufficiency reports are available online at at the city’s website at kelowna.ca/council.