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High praise still for downtown Kelowna hotel tower

Council pleased Kerry Park upgrades will be done despite higher cost
Conceptual rendering of Queensway Ave. hotel development (Westcorp Property Management)

The group behind a hotel/residential tower proposed for Queensway Ave. was back before Kelowna council Sept. 20, seeking yet another development permit.

Westcorp Developments has been trying to get its 33-storey building off the ground for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into those plans for the last two years.

Staff told council the project remains substantially unchanged, with plans for 175 hotel rooms, 65 residential units, an 18th-floor restaurant, as well as commercial space.

In 2020, Westcorp committed approximately $589,000 for upgrades to Kerry Park, which is next door to the tower.

“We’d be dreaming if we thought we were going to do that for $589,000 today,” said Gail Temple, vice-president of operations. “Not even close. While our commitment is the same, the cost of that commitment has changed significantly.”

That sat well with Coun. Mohini Singh.

“Now that I know, despite the cost, Kerry park is going to be upgraded as beautifully as committed to in the beginning, I see a strong public amenity there.”

Council was mostly still in favour of the project.

“I’ve always maintained I wouldn’t support a full residential tower at this location, but I absolutely will support a beautiful hotel which will be an amenity to all of our downtown businesses,” said Coun. Luke Stack.

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge said he also sees the project as a positive for the downtown.

“I think it’s an exceptional vision and a great investment in our community that we can’t take for granted.”

Coun. Charlie Hodge was the only vote against the development, adding he felt it was the wrong location and had concerns about too many towers close to the lake, and Kerry Park.

“That is a park that in my mind has always been an icon for the people and should remain that way.”

Westcorp still needs to apply for a building permit for the project to move forward.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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