Aqua development clears new hurdle

Aqua development clears new hurdle

“I recognize the community is divided on this.”

A large three-building development planned for Kelowna’s Mission area lakeshore has cleared another hurdle on its way to becoming reality.

On Tuesday night, Kelowna city council, in an 8-1 vote, approved a development permit for the Mission Group’s Aqua development, as well as approving height and setback variances to allow for three residential towers of 12, 14 and 16 storeys and a four-storey boat storage facility.

But, while eight city councillors liked the revamped plan for the resort-style development—which lowered the original proposed height of the towers from 14, 16 and 19 storeys—there was opposition from many members of the public who addressed council at the council meeting.

Several speakers expressed concern about the proposed height of of the towers, which will be terraced, setting their highest points back from the lakeshore.

“I recognize the community is divided on this,” said Coun. Luke Stack.

READ ALSO: PROJECT HEADS TO COUNCIL FOR CONSIDERATION

But he said he believed the development fulfilled the “dream” of having a strong, beautiful development on the site.”

Aqua would be built on land just south of the Hotel Eldorado, at Lakeshore Road and Truswell Road.

In addition to the towers and the boat storage facility, there would also be commercial space, townhouses, an extension of Cook Road to intersect with Truswell and a number of public amenities, such as a public washrooms, a lakeshore promenade and a clubhouse that could be rented by the public for events.

The Mission Group’s Luke Turri said the development will include 320 units and generate $1.6 million in property tax revenue for the city.

By having the on-land boat storage, there would be no need for an on-the-water marina, said Turri.

There would also be a private boat launch and that is expected to take pressure off the nearby public Cook Road public boat launch, he added.

All the city councillors praised the revisions made to the plan by the developer and said they especially liked the the public amenities such as the promenade that will open the lakeshore in front of the development to the public.

Coun. Charlie Hodge, who in the past has opposed many high-rise proposals sent to council for approval, said he liked what he saw this time. He called the plans “stunning.”

“I say, thumbs up,” said Hodge.

His colleague, Coun. Maxine DeHart echoed his comments, saying the city needs developments like Aqua.

“This is class development,” said DeHart.

But there was not unanimity on council.

In a surprising move, Mayor Colin Basran voted against the project, saying the developer had not gone far enough in adjusting its plans following the original proposal last year.

Basran referred back to his concerns expressed during the last year’s rezoning of the property for Aqua.

“I know form and character are subjective, but I don’t feel (the Mission Group) has gone far enough. I still think the massing is too much,” he said.

At Tuesday’s meting there were concerns raised by the public about soil conditions and possible flooding of the Aqua site in future.

Turri said a geo-technical study had been carried out on the site and it said the company was safe to build there.

The project will need to get more permits before proceeding and could trigger the need for environmental assessments, said city staff.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



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