The latest proposed residential building for Kelowna’s Central Green project, a building some on council feel looks “utilitarian.” —Image: contributed

Council not happy with high-profile Kelowna development

The Central Green project was to be “iconic.” Instead, according to council, it’s “utilitarian”

Kelowna city councillors don’t like it but developers of the Central Green residential development project at Richter Street and Harvey Avenue say soil conditions prevent them from building as high as originally planned.

And that, in part, prompted council to defer approval Monday of a development permit for the latest building proposed for the site.

At council’s regular weekly meeting, Bob Daigenais of Al Stober Construction said the soil conditions on the site make it too expensive to prepare the property for a 12-storey building.

“Just because you want a tower doesn’t mean you can build a tower,” he told council.

When council approved the original plan for developing the former home to Kelowna Senior Secondary into a multi-building, mixed-use residential community, the plan called for 12-storey buildings along the Harvey Avenue frontage of the property. But they were dropped from the plan early on. Lower buildings were envisioned for farther back on the site and a large new park on the south side of the site.

But so far, all of the buildings have been five storeys tall.

“We’re not going to see the kind of height we wanted to see on that site,” said Coun. Gail Given, who noted there was extensive public consultation prior the original plan being approved and the public also wanted to see high density, mixed-use residential buildings of varying heights.

As for mixed-use, that too now appears to be smaller in scope than originally planned. Daigenais said because of the few designated access points and a lack of space for a loading zone, businesses like grocery stores are not likely to locate there and a bank will not place a branch on the site because there cannot be a drive-through. He said the businesses that will be located onsite will likely be small operations like coffees shop, bakeries and a hair stylists.

He added the project has been planned to be oriented toward pedestrians, not vehicles.

For that reason, a building originally planned for the corner of Richter and Harvey has been replaced with a public plaza.

Despite the lack of high rises, the developers say they will still achieve the city-set target of 500 residential units on the site—in both strata and rental buildings.

But the way the development has evolved had several councillors grumbling Monday.

“I’m really disappointed with where Central Green has gone,” said Coun. Charlie Hodge.

At the meeting, council voted to defer approval for the latest building proposed for site, a five-storey rental building that would front Richter Street.

The building was described by Coun. Brad Seiben as “utilitarian” in appearance. Coun. Tracey Gray said she felt it looked like many others in the city.

“When someone drives past this development, I want them to go ‘wow’,” said Coun. Mohini Singh. But she said, that is not likely to happen given the look of the buildings being built on the site.

Given said it appears the city’s hope of an “iconic” development for the high-profile site have been dashed.

To report a typo, email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Plane lands safely after takeoff issue

An airplane departing Kelowna International Airport had an issue with a landing gear, landed safely

KSS rocks and rolls for 37th straight year

Kelowna secondary students let loose with annual Air Bank competition

YMCA launches teen program for mental health

Starting April 5, the Kelowna Family Y will host its first run of Mind Fit

Kelowna’s Community Calendar

Check out some upcoming events, or add your own event to our community calendar

Sunday Fiction: My father through my own eyes

Kelowna columnist William Peckham writes a monthly fiction column for the Capital News

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Elke’s Garden Tips: Good time to prepare

Lake Country garden columnist talks about what to do at this time of the year

Letter: Crying fowl over goose cull witness

Kelowna letter-writer says Canada geese come with many issues

Letter: I was born in Kelowna in 1930…

Kelowna letter-writer has some ideas on how things should run nowadays

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Most Read