Plan for Kelowna waterfront jumps hurdle

A contentious plan to turn seven city-owned properties in the Pandosy area into a combination of park and commercial space will be headed to a public hearing April 5.

A contentious plan to turn seven city-owned properties in the Pandosy area into a combination of park and commercial space will be headed to a public hearing April 5.

“I’m supporting this,” said Coun. Angela Reid-Nagy, of a motion to move to the next step of the re-zoning process, echoing the sentiments of most of her peers.

Coun. Charlie Hodge was opposed, while Mayor Sharon Shepherd and Coun. Robert Hobson had to abstain from the discussion due to a conflict of interest.

Reid-Nagy explained she only recently came to a clear understanding of plans for the 2.5 acre Cedar Avenue property, after she and the rest of council were taken on a city-guided tour through the space.

“We’re actually adding more parkland to what was originally designated for commercial (space),” she said.

“The land there is not suited to beach, because there’s sewer outfall, and they’re going to restore (some of it) to be an animal preserve.”

While some say it’s the best use of the 2.5 acres of land, area residents went out in large numbers to an Advisory Planning Commission meeting in January to voice their concerns about not keeping park space natural.

Attendees of that meeting pointed out that the building proposed could look like a wall, and flew in the face of the intrinsic aesthetic value of the region.

Since that meeting, however, tweaks have been made to address their concerns.

Park space was increased, as was the view area on the north end of the project.

“The lakeside pathway would be similar in design to the recently completed Stuart Park,” said city staffer Shelley Gambecourt, in laying out the changes.

There would also be height restrictions on the building, which could only reach as high as 2.5 to four storeys.

“I think there were legitimate concerns raised at the APC, and they’ve been addressed,” said Coun. Kevin Craig.

“The original submission had a brutish commercial development proposed.”

He went on to point out that council is the landowner, and they can put an end to whatever project doesn’t fit with the vision for the area.

“We can make sure that something that enhances Pandosy moves forward,” he said.