Kelowna council approves rental housing project

Plan for former packinghouse site calls for 148 rental units

Plans to build residential units on the former BC Tree Fruit Packinghouse site has city council’s blessing — mostly.

PC Urban, owner of the north end property, wants to build 148 rental units on the southwest corner of the property, fronting on Richter and Clement.

While the development would occupy one-third of the land use, the remaining parcels, earmarked for industrial use, have no definitive plans in place yet.

Related: Rental housing proposal submitted

Coun. Mohini Singh said she is happy to see the concept come forward, but she hopes to see more of a “wow factor” in the final design.

“This is a key location in our community…I’m really looking for more than just throwing up a building, a coffee shop and some trees. That is not going to cut it,” Singh said.

“For all intents and purposes this site is part of our downtown core and is right across from our new RCMP building. I’m looking for something spectacular for that site.”

The rental component represents about a 2.8 per cent increase in the rental housing supply within Kelowna’s Census Metropolitan Area, and is part of an overall 22 per cent increase in primary rental housing either approved or in the planning stages.

Coun. Gail Given cautioned that while this project might fill a need, losing industrial land is not ideal.

“I don’t want this to be the slippery edge of a slope we go down where developers starting looking at our industrial zoned lands as residential potential. That should not be our intent in supporting this project,” Given said.

“I would hate to see our industrial sites redeveloped as we really do need that land for industrial purposes. And I would not like to see any further residential (development) bleeding into this project either.”

Part of the residential project amenities calls for a strong urban edge and street wall at the intersection of Clement Avenue and Richter Street, but planning staff added that about four metres will be set aside to allocate for the continual upgrade of Clement.

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