A new area redevelopment plan (ARP) will be prepared to guide the future and redevelopment of the former Tolko mill site in Kelowna’s north end neighbourhood.
The plan comes after much speculation of the neighbourhood’s future since the Tolko mill closed in 2019. Since then, the nearby B.C. Tree Fruits site has been listed for sale.
If approved, the ARP will provide direction on issues such as building heights, land use and development, housing and affordability, heritage conversation and transportation, among others. The ARP will also provide establish a clear, long-term plan for the redevelopment of the site and to develop it that is consistent with established policies, industry best practices and community input.
While Tolko will help develop the ARP, the final decision rests with Kelowna city council.
“While this represents the end of one era, it also represents the beginning of an exciting opportunity to envision the future of the Mill Site in a new context. Opportunities of this scale are rare and hold the potential to make significant shifts in a community’s evolution,” read a city staff report.
The ARP process will take place in four key stages, starting with city staff presenting council with the background and context of the plan. City staff will be working with city council to present key milestones and to ensure the plan follows the North End Plan. Staff will also engage with the public, including Indigenous community members, to address confusion and concerns.
City councillors were generally enthusiastic about the proposed ARP, with excitement coming from councillors Charlie Hodge and Gail Given.
“This is very exciting, especially for a veteran councillor, to be able to be a part of this,” said Hodge. “All my life as a kid, I’ve always wondered what’s going to happen to the North End. I guess we’re about to find out.”