West Kelowna waterfront strategy unveiled

The need for an overall waterfront strategy is apparent in West Kelowna.

  • Mar. 5, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Couns. Duane Ophus and Rosalind Neis watch as Joey Severn (right) points out his favourite place on the West Kelowna waterfront

The need for an overall strategy is apparent as West Kelowna continues to create a plan that will balance development, recreation and ecology for the future of the waterfront.

Consultants and the district sought public opinion on various aspects of the waterfront master plan at an open house earlier this week.

The strategy for the waterfront addresses potential future development, environmental challenges and uses for the 26 road-end waterfront accesses currently owned by the district of West Kelowna, among other issues.

Ecological challenges include retaining the few remaining natural areas and being cautious of areas needed for spawning by fish species.

Close to 71 per cent of the West Kelowna shoreline has already been modified, with Goat’s Peak and Kalamoir Regional Park the only sections that remain close to their natural state.

Several options are available for the use of the road-end properties, and the public is being polled for opinions. If the water access properties are to come under development for further public use, the concepts presented range from small parks heavy on greenery and landscaping to a more developed plot with ample parking.

Another possibility being considered is the potential sale of some of the properties, with the goal of acquiring other waterfront-area land using the sale proceeds.

Like other parts of the district, the waterfront faces development pressures.

The waterfront plan identifies the potential for one or more mixed-use waterfront villages, containing residential and commercial properties. It points to a strong market demand for phasing in such developments in increments two or three blocks wide.

West Kelowna planning manager Nancy Henderson said the district will be taking what is learned at the open house and moving forward, with the aim of completing the plan around June of this year.

The strategy, along with the many other plans being completed, will help serve as a guide for the decisions of present and future councils.

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