West Kelowna council notes

Council authorized staff to initiate the legislative process to change the municipal designation of West Kelowna to a City.

Regional Context Statement – OCP

Council gave first and second reading to an Official Community Plan Amendment. The proposed amendment will incorporate an updated Regional Context Statement to meet legislative requirements of the Local Government Act and reflect the recently adopted Regional Growth Strategy by the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO). The proposed amendment includes a comprehensive statement of the region, population and employment projections and identifies the ten regional issue areas. These areas include mandatory content regarding housing, transportation, regional district services, parks and natural areas, economic development and other regional matters such as land, health, climate and transportation. The amended bylaw will now be forwarded to the RDCO and, if approved, a public hearing will be scheduled to hear from the public.

Westbank DCC Rate Reduction

Council gave first, second and third reading to the Westbank Centre Development Cost Charges (DCC) Reduction Bylaw, a move stemming from a recommendation within the District’s Westbank Centre Revitalization Plan. DCCs may be charged by a municipality to a developer to assist the District in paying the capital cost of providing and improving infrastructure. This bylaw is intended to accelerate development in Westbank Centre. Development industry representatives have advised the District that existing market conditions coupled with an increase in construction costs are making it difficult to commence desired projects and have requested that the District explore reductions for certain fees to assist with this private sector investment in Westbank Centre. A DCC reduction bylaw signals to the development community that the District strongly supports the creation of a strong economic and social core within the community. Any development that occurs within the indicated boundary that results in low environmental impact may be eligible for a DCC reduction according to the draft bylaw, which has also been scaled to feature a deeper reduction for higher density, mixed use projects and smaller reductions for projects that propose less density. The District would be required to fund any DCC reductions that result from this move, but it is anticipated that long term economic benefits will compensate for short term financial implications. The proposed bylaw would expire on March 1, 2018, roughly three years from proposed adoption of the bylaw. The District has forwarded the proposed bylaw for review by the Urban Development Institute, the Greater Westside Board of Trade and the Canadian Home Builders. Prior to adoption, the District will prepare an information bulletin outlining the key aspects of the bylaw and its implementation.

Hillside Development Standards

Council adopted the District’s Works and Services Amendment Bylaw which adds Hillside Development Standards to the bylaw. The standards provide design criteria and requirements to promote sustainable hillside development in order to reduce impacts to the natural environment.

Wayfinding Plan

Council directed staff to proceed with installing wayfinding signage in the Lakeview commercial and recreation area as a test area for the new signage program. Staff have also been directed to engage in consultation with the community to achieve a formal name for the District’s industrial area and follow up with signage installation once a name is established. The Wayfinding Plan involves the creation and installation of a series of signs to help the public navigate to West Kelowna areas and amenities. Two signs will be installed at the junction of Boucherie and Anders Roads. The industrial area signage would establish a defined route to direct vehicular traffic off of Highway 97 and onto entry points into the industrial area from Westlake Road to Bartley Road.

2015 Budget

Council was provided an overview of the draft 2015-2024 Financial Plan and Ten Year Capital Plan for initial review. The 2015 budget proposes a 2.4% tax increase. Growth is projected to be 4.13% which is substantially higher than the budgeted 1%. The growth has resulted in $1,043,849 in additional tax dollars. Most of this growth is due to a desktop review undertaken by BC Assessment. Council will take part in a detailed review of the plan at its meeting February 5, 2015. A public open house on the budget will be held in February 25 at the Westbank Library and adoption of the plan is slated for April 2015.

Municipal Classification

Council authorized staff to initiate the legislative process to change the municipal designation of West Kelowna from a District municipality to a City. The process is expected to take approximately 9 to 12 months and is estimated to cost $3,000. The approval of the electorate would be obtained through the Alternate Approval Process.

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