The City of Kelowna is taking a long, hard look at its rapidly changing North End and what its eventual redevelopment — including the former Tolko site — will look like.
The area has been the subject of much speculation since the Tolko mill closed in 2019. Since then, the nearby BC Tree Fruits site has been listed for sale, adding more intrigue to the area’s future development potential.
“The exploration of the development potential of these sites is imminent and there is now a window of opportunity to help set the course for the long-term evolution of this complex, vital and exciting part of our community,” city staff wrote in a report headed to city council on Monday, July 12.
City staff is set to present its plan to develop a North End neighbourhood plan during that meeting. The plan will explore the future of those sites and the area surrounding Knox Mountain and Clement Avenue.
More than 1,500 people live in the area’s 800 residences and it is home to 226 businesses, both commercial and industrial.
According to city staff, the neighbourhood is facing pressure to transition on several fronts, with its busy active transportation corridor, neighbouring downtown bringing some of the city’s highest-density developments to its doorstep and the industrial demand shifting to areas with better highway access.
Ultimately, the plan will provide the opportunity to clarify the community’s vision for the neighbourhood, tackling issues such as the future of the industry in the area, whether existing industrial businesses and residential can coexist and opportunities to expand housing options.
The North End neighbourhood plan will likely come alongside an area redevelopment plan for the former mill site.
Pending approval from city council, staff will undertake the development of the neighbourhood plan over the next 18 months with a budget of $465,000.
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