The public got another look at the City of Kelowna’s vision for the Capri-Landmark Centre area Thursday evening.
And several came away liking what they saw.
Whether it was the proposed realignment of Sutherland Avenue, the plan for higher density in the area, more parks and green space, trails and better transportation options, several of the people who packed into the city’s open house at the Coast Capri Hotel, expressed agreement a plan is needed for the growing area, and they welcomed the move to develop one.
“I like a people-first approach—however they choose to get around,” said Gideon Dante, an area resident who welcomed the plan’s call for more trails and bicycle paths in the area.
He said one of the biggest needs in the area is a way to get around safely on a bike.
The area, with about 2,400 people living in it now, is bordered by Gordon and Spall Avenues and Highway 97 and Springfield Road.
City project manager Ross Soward said while the look of the area will ultimately be different, the residents can look to other areas of the city such as South Pandosy and downtown as examples of the city making a plan for an area with extensive input from residents and helping it grow according to the plan over the years.
He said over the next 20 years, the Capri-Landmark areas is expected to grow to about 9,000 people.
Currently it has a mixture of housing types including some single family homes, some rental and some strata. Two of the biggest developments are the existing Capri shopping centre—itself slated for redevelopment into a large mixed-use residential-commercial centre and the Landmark Centre high rise office towers.
Several of the residents who attended the open house praised the move to increase density in the area.
“I like that,” said Paul Skutshek, who has owed a rental property in the area for 20 years and recently moved into his property there.
He said the city needs to address parking issue on streets such as his where there are a number of multi-family buildings, all with residents who own vehicles.
He said while the city would like to see a reduction in the number of automobiles on local roads, that is not likely to happen anytime soon, so they will have to be managed.
“There is an average of eight cars per building on my street,” said Skutshek, adding street parking is usually a premium on his street especially in the evening.
But he described the area as a great place to live in the city because it is so central to everything.
Another couple who live in the area, Carl and Donna Perry, were also impressed with what they saw in the third phase of the public consultation associated with the plan.
The pair said they have seen some changes in the area in the 10 years they have lived there, particularly the density.
They said they were interested to see how the realignment of Sutherland Avenue would take place, something they felt would help in the neighbourhood.
They also welcomed the plan for higher density.
In August, Kelowna city council endorsed a preferred concept to serve as the foundation for a new Capri-Landmark Urban Centre Plan. The preferred concept was developed with community input and technical analysis to address future growth, how people will get around, and where future residents and workers will have access to parks and public space.
With a strong plan in place, the city says each re-development proposal can be leveraged as an opportunity to invest in the area in a way that moves the community closer to the vision for the plan.
Key concepts of the plan include:
• Prioritized alternative transportation options with a new complete street, with improved walking, cycling and transit options from Burtch to Spall roads.
• Comfortable, walkable streets with reduced block sizes and streetscape designs that add new sidewalks for people living and working in the area.
• Flexible, social public space sand the inclusion of a community park for people living and working in the Landmark area.
• Local character and sense of place featuring design principles to guide the public realm and future building design.
• Diversity of housing types by adding increased density and new types of housing options to combat urban sprawl and contribute to a thriving neighbourhood
• Mix of land uses to increasing the number of people living in the area and focus new retail and amenities on Dickson Avenue.
• Environmental resilience—increasing the amount of green spaces and linear corridors (Mill Creek and Ritchie Brook) to reduce run-off and improve flood protection.
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