Kelowna’s mayor says it’s the biggest purchase of land for a park made by the city in 43 years.
Colin Basran announced Wednesday the city has spent $12.1 million to buy 2.9 acres of lakeshore property in the Mission to create a future park.
The land, described as “a significant property,” is located at 4010-4020 Lakeshore Rd.
“The purchase of this waterfront property is truly a legacy for our city,” said Basran.
“…it will become increasingly important to protect valuable waterfront property to accommodate growth.”
He said the land, which currently has three occupied homes on it, was bought for $300,000 below the asking price and is a rare find.
In the past, when the city has wanted to create a waterfront park, it has done so by buying smaller individual properties adjacent to one another and consolidating them into a large park later on.
But this time, one large lot became available and the city felt the deal was too good to pass up.
Basran said the land was listed on the open market, but he did not know how many other potential buyers, if any, were interested.
The mayor said as far as he knows, the land purchase is the largest single lot the city has bought for parkland since the acquisition in 1972 of the land that became Rotary Beach Park, farther north on Lakeshore Road.
He said the new property is comparable in size to Rotary Beach Park.
The land is adjacent to the Bluebird Road beach access, across from Belmont Park.
The 2.9-acre acquisition will complement existing city waterfront holdings in the area.
In total, the acquisition will allow for the creation of a 3.6-acre waterfront park, with more than 705 feet of sandy beachfront located next to a commercial area along Lakeshore Road.
“Being a significant beach park, access to washrooms, parking, amenities and food services will be important features of this park,” said City of Kelowna community planning manager Terry Barton.
However, the public should not expect the land to be turned into a park immediately.
The timing of redevelopment and amenities construction has not been determined by city officials and will be included as part of the current long-term capital planning discussion, said Barton.
The city is currently seeking public input on its 2016-2030 infrastructure planning requirements.
Public access to the property is currently restricted for the privacy of the existing occupants of the homes located on it. Basran urged the public to be respectful of that.
Funding for the acquisition was provided from the city’s development cost charge (DCC) program and supplemented from city land reserves. The purchase will not require a tax hike or borrowing.