Morgan: West Kelowna starting to create its own identity

What once was a hidden gem in the Okanagan Valley is becoming more widely known, from its exquisite golf courses to local vineyards.

Kelowna has been recognized as a four season playground, a city of lakes, being a diverse cultural community, Canada’s version of Hawaii.

But what about our neighbouring sister West Kelowna?

The District of West Kelowna is growing rapidly reflected by a population of 30,892 according to 2011 Census, the second largest municipality in the Central Okanagan. Stats Canada has also recorded West Kelowna having a 13.5 per cent increase in population from 2006 to 2011.

What once was a hidden gem in our Okanagan Valley is becoming more widely known, from the community’s exquisite golf courses, local vineyards such as world known Mission Hill Winery and growing family developments like the popular Tallus Ridge community to having all of that with nature just a step outside local residents’ front doors.

A big contributor to the continue growth of West Kelowna has been the William R. Bennett Bridge. Opened in May 2008, the bridge offers five lanes of traffic, an increase over the three-lane traffic flow on the former Okanagan Lake floating bridge.

To continue to support West Kelowna’s growth, the district council implemented an Economic Development Strategy Plan in August 2010. There were several goals outlined in this extensive city plan, with some of the plan’s main focus placed on increasing job opportunity, improving local businesses and providing a vibrant town centre.

Since then, we have seen some outstanding results of the vision for West Kelowna, such as an overpass to help ease any traffic tensions, new shopping centres offering an abundance of new stores, and a popular new movie cineplex.

West Kelowna—what once was a hassle to gain access to during our tourist seasons and city rush hour in fear of the congested bridge and backed up traffic has now become the place to be.

Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side or perhaps we need to look in all corners of our beautiful Okanagan and realize every town, every community, has something unique to offer.

Ceinwen Morgan has worked in the Kelowna real estate industry for the past five years.

Kelowna Capital News