(Evangel Family Rental Housing Society photo)

(Evangel Family Rental Housing Society photo)

Kelowna council approves below-market rental development near downtown

The 6.5-storey building has 46 units — 35 of which are three-bedroom apartments

More multi-family rental-only affordable housing is coming to Kelowna near the city’s downtown core.

On Tuesday, council approved a 6.5-storey building with 46 units — 35 of which are three-bedroom apartments — for 969 Harvey Avenue, adjacent to an already-standing 64-unit apartment building. The site is owned by the Evangel Family Rental Housing Society.

The city also granted several variances to the project, the most contentious of which was a proposed decrease in the minimum off-street parking from 78 stalls to 52 stalls.

“Staff are recommending support for this variance as the project is truly an affordable housing project with the guarantee of rental housing, the site’s proximity to the Ethel Street active transportation corridor and proximity to two urban centres (downtown and Capri/Landmark),” city planners wrote in their report to council.

A representative for the developer told council that the number of spaces will be well beyond what is necessary. The developer previously stated it is anticipated that the surplus of parking at the existing building — 97 stalls — will be shared among both buildings.

Other variances included the increase of the maximum site coverage to 70 per cent from the currently allowed 50 per cent and a setback variance.

Ultimately, the need for more below-market rental housing outweighed council’s concerns.

While councillors raised issues about the green space and overall quality of the development, Mayor Colin Basran noted the development is targeted at lower-income families looking for a home.

“Their quality of life will be greatly enhanced by living in a brand new condo, as opposed to a family of three or more living in a basement suite at market rent because that’s all they can afford,” Basran said.

READ MORE: Kelowna council approves plane-shaped aviation museum

READ MORE: Rapid transit could be on the horizon for the Central Okanagan

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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