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Changes on the horizon for Rutland

The City of Kelowna has been talking about its big plans to revamp Rutland and many in the neighbourhood are excited to see the change.

“Downtown Rutland is going to look a heck of a lot different over the next 20 years,” explained Uptown Rutland Business Association executive director Karen Beaubier.

“The goal is to stop urban sprawl, which means, instead of building outwards and taking up more land, we’re going to see more buildings going up vertically.”

In the draft 2040 Official Community Plan, Rutland is designated as one of the city’s five urban cores alongside downtown, Capri‐Landmark, Pandosy and Midtown. In those areas, the city plans to prioritize residential density, public amenities, infrastructure, and cultural spaces to enrich the urban neighbourhoods as diverse hubs.

Among other changes, that means Rutland will eventually have taller buildings — many of which will be medium- or high-density apartment complexes. They won’t be quite as tall as the towering 40-storey buildings proposed for downtown, but Rutland residents should expect to see several buildings at least a dozen storeys high in the future, according to Beaubier.

“We want to showcase the businesses and our authentic and approachable business owners here in Rutland,” Beaubier said. “So we want to draw people from the Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan area to here in Rutland.”

Part of the Uptown Rutland Business Association’s plans to make the neighbourhood more vibrant was adding murals painted by local artists.

The project started in 2019 and there are already 13 murals painted across the neighbourhood, with five more being painted this summer.

Rob Christman, general manager of Christman Plumbing and Heating Ltd. in Rutland, said when he was approached with the idea of having his building painted, he was happy to oblige.

“It’s definitely added a colour to this area of town that typically has a bad name. It’s made it brighter and I have people coming here taking pictures all the time, so it’s quite nice,” Christman said.

From tall buildings to beautiful art, one thing Beaubier says one thing you can start calling Rutland is ‘vibrant.’

“To be different and come up with something fresh and exciting, more than just hanging flower baskets from street lights…We’re thrilled to see this next phase of Rutland and its history,” said Beaubier.

Amandalina Letterio

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