Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran says proposed growth scenarios were supposed to be thought-provoking and stimulate dialogue, but have now become adversarial.(Alistair Waters - Capital News)

Kelowna council changes tack, supports growth strategy with more suburban feel

“I personally will take some of the responsibility for tension created in our community.”

Kelowna city council pumped the brakes Monday on a plan that would have emphasized urban development and potentially stopped 1,500 suburban homes from being built.

Council — with the exception of Coun. Charlie Hodge— their its from a 20-year growth strategy they voted in favour of last December.

The plan would have ensured that 81 per cent of future Kelowna homes are built in urban areas and just 19 per cent would be built in suburban areas.

Danielle Noble-Brandt, the city’s policy and planning department manager, explained that the plan would have guided Kelowna’s evolution into “sustainable, healthy and compact city” through encouraging increased transit use, in additon to greater proximity between homes and shops and services.

She also noted that whatever growth scenario the city started with or ended with, there will be trade-offs and hard decisions ahead.

While the plan reflected the interests represented in a public consultation process, the development community wasn’t willing to take the trade-offs sitting down and they brought their case to councillors over the last month.

In turn, city staff were asked to revisit the plan and crunch some numbers.

READ MORE: WHAT SHOULD COUNCIL HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY

In a presentation to council, staff explained Wilden could lose 700 to 900 future homes, Black Mountain could lose 250 to 350 future homes, and Kirschner Mountain could lose 350 to 450 new homes.

This could put at risk the commercial element of residential developments that require a certain level of population density to fall into place. Some councillors pointed out that it could also be viewed as reneging on a deal.

Mayor Colin Basran said he feels strongly about the “devastating challenges of climate change” and the tax burden facing his children and the future generations of children who will inherit this city.

He said he believes the most powerful way that a city can mitigate these challenges is through land use planning.

“There’s no question that cities need to be built differently than they have in the past. Through the Imagine Kelowna process we’ve defined what kind of community we want to become. This next Official Community Plan will plot course toward imagine Kelowna vision,” Basran said.

READ MORE: CAPRI LANDMARK PLAN ON HOLD

“Growth scenarios presented to the city were supposed to be thought provoking and stimulate dialogue.”

Unfortunately, he said, what should have been an exciting and engaging exercise to shape Kelowna’s future has now become very adversarial.

“When you strip away the rhetoric and arguments most of us what the very same things,” he said. “I personally will take some of the responsibility for tension that has been created in our community.”

Basran said that council’s decision to support the plan that was more restrictive to suburban developers was done without appropriate research and analysis from staff.

“If I could do it again, I would have asked staff to bring back a report to council explaining the impacts of growth scenario 3 before adopting it,” said Basran.

He went on to say that the majority of future growth can and should occurring in urban neighbourhoods.

“However, we need to asks make sure our suburban neighbourhoods grow as responsibly as possible, utilizing infrastructure that has already been built out,” he said.

Council then voted for an alternate growth scenario that put less emphasis on urbanization. It would emphasize overall housing split of 52 per cent multi-family and 48 per cent single- and two-family homes.

About two thirds of new housing would be built in the city’s core area, which includes the City Centre, South Pandosy, Capri-Landmark, Midtown, and Rutland Urban Centres.

The remaining third would be built in suburban neighbourhoods already planned for in the existing 2030 Official Community Plan, such as Wilden, Black Mountain, Kirschner Mountain and The Ponds.

“A significant difference between the two scenarios is where new housing would and would not be built, which in turn would determine the location and cost of infrastructure and transportation investments,” said project manager Robert Miles.

“While both scenarios represented ambitious, progressive shifts in how the city will grow, the growth scenario that council endorsed would allow more neighbourhoods to be completed as envisioned in the current 2030 Official Community Plan.”

The next phase of public and stakeholder engagement is anticipated this spring and will gather feedback on some of the key components of the draft 2040 Official Community Plan.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Firefighter spring training comes to Lake Country

From LNG to breaking down doors, firefighters get training from industry pros

Okanagan FC kicks off regular season Saturday night

OKFC starts their inaugural season of the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) in Penticton

Lake Country joins celebration of local government professionals

The district joined communities across the province by planting a new tree

Kootnekoff: Nervous about random drug testing?

Are you an employer with workers performing safety sensitive activities, but without… Continue reading

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Severe thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada forecasts thunder, cloud and rain for one more day

Firefighter spring training comes to Lake Country

From LNG to breaking down doors, firefighters get training from industry pros

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Missing Shuswap teen found safe

The teen was found by searchers at 4:30 a.m. on May 25

More than just a playground: Penticton’s Busy Beans Play Café to help parents and children

Owners Kim Wade and Tracey Wiseman want to use their expertise to help struggling families

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Highway 1 closed east of Revelstoke

Highway 1 is closed east of Revelstoke near Canyon Hot Springs due… Continue reading

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Okanagan woman celebrates 101 years young on the back of a Harley Davidson

Last Saturday Violet Madeline celebrated 101 years. A member of the Lower… Continue reading

Most Read