South Pandosy residents said they were disappointed after Kelowna city councillors gave the green light to a purpose-build rental project proposed by Mission Group Tuesday night after a public hearing.
But Paul Clark, co-chairman of the neighbourhood association, said he wasn’t shocked by the outcome.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “It’s not surprising because we know this city council is more aligned with development and we understand that.”
Clark — who spoke on behalf of, and alongside, concerned residents — urged council to vote down the proposal requiring an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment and a rezoning to an urban centre commercial zone.
Residents said the six-storey, mixed-use building to be built on West Avenue would drive more traffic to the already congested area with new businesses and competition for limited parking would increase.
The five of nine councillors present for the hearing voted to approve the necessary amendments as the developer’s requests did not stray far from what the property was already zoned for. Council said a height difference of 0.3m, 1,700 square feet of commercial space and a 1.5-storey variance was not too much of an ask.
Mayor Colin Basran said it was a “small bump” from what the OCP calls for.
South Pandosy has been marked in the OCP as one of the identified urban centres for densification, but Clark said there is something different about the village-like neighbourhood.
“Every single one of those urban centres (Rutland, Capri-Landmark, downtown, South Pandosy and Midtown) has a highway going through it, or very close to it, except South Pandosy,” he said. “So to consider us with the others without an urban centre plan… I think it’s really unfortunate that we don’t get the ability to give input to an urban centre plan for our area.”
Coun. Ryan Donn said the city is “a little further behind in urban centre plans than I had hoped,” but the best time for council-resident collaboration will be around OCP discussions this summer at public open houses.