An artist’s impression of what Sutherland Avenue would look like in the Capri-Landmark plan. (City of Kelowna)

Kelowna council to consider endorsing controversial development plan

Businesses oppose Capri-Landmark Urban Centre Plan’s call to extend Sutherland Avenue

After putting it on hold six months ago, Kelowna city council will be asked Monday to endorse a controversial plan that could change the face of the city’s Midtown area over the next 20 years.

The Capri-Landmark Urban Centre Plan was tabled by council last September. The proposal is returning to council for further consideration following a council workshop on the plan held in February.

The plan has generated vocal opposition from property owners, businesses and landlords in the area around the existing Landmark business towers complex because of the plan’s proposal to extend Sutherland Avenue and turn it into a multi-modal corridor.

But the city says the area is slated to grow by as many as 8,000 residents over the next 20 years and the current transporation situation in the area is “untenable.”

“Our technical analysis shows (the area) needs and east-west street connection,” said city planner specialist Ross Soward.

He said following at the February workshop, council instructed staff to move ahead with the plan including the extension of Sutherland.

Opponents of the extension say it will displace many existing small businesses and affect properties in the area, and could even cost jobs if the affected businesses cannot relocate and have to close.

The city counters by saying it will, in fact, open up development opportunities for landowners in the area.

READ MORE: Kelowna council puts controversial Capri-Landmark plan on hold

The area covered by the plan is bordered by Harvey Avenue (Highway 97) to the north, Sutherland Avenue to the south, Spall Road to the east and Gordon Drive to the west. It includes both the Landmark business area and the Capri Centre.

The large Capri Centre property, which currently includes the Capri Shopping Centre and the Coast Capri Hotel, is slated for redevelopment into a multi-family residential centre in the coming years.

“The Capri-Landmark (Urban Centre) Plan aligns with Kelowna’s growth management strategy and supports the revitalization of an emerging urban centre,” says the city’s planning department in a report that will accompany the plan at Monday’s council meeting.

“This plan strategically integrates core community values with city policies and sound planning principles to guide and enable positive change for the Capri Landmark area over the next 20 years and beyond.

“The recently endorsed OCP growth scenario sets the target of focusing 48 per cent of future growth in Kelowna’s urban centres, reinforcing the significant amount of redevelopment and change anticipated within the five urban centres. More specifically, Capri-Landmark is expected to add 8,000 new residents over the next 20 years as older service commercial buildings and other properties are redeveloped to mixed-use residential apartments.”

READ MORE: Year in Review No. 3: A significant redevelopment proposal hits a snag

On Monday, council will be asked to endorse the plan, which carries a total price tag of $91.5 million.

While it still includes the call to extend Sutherland as one of its “big moves,” it also calls for:

• Protecting and maintaining affordable housing at the west end near the Capri Centre

• Expanding Pacific Park and Mary-Ann Collinson Memorial Park

• Developing a plaza at the Landmark Centre complex

• Developing the existing Dickson Avenue into “Dickson Main Street” and building the Dayton Promenade linking Harvey Avenue and Dickson Avenue

• Encouraging high-density residential and commercial development near the Landmark towers

• Retaining and increasing commercial property along parts of Spall and Sutherland

• Creating Ritchie Park alongside the extension of Sutherland

• Daylighting Ritchie Brook and building the Mill Creek corridor through the area

• Building sidewalks and protecting cycling routes

• Extending Pacific Court north from Sutherland

The planning department says at least two-thirds of the cost for key future infrastructure improvements in the area will be borne by development, while ensuring the area remains affordable for development compared to other suburban locations in the city.

READ MORE: Kelowna commercial landlords face displacement

“There is also a major opportunity to reduce the costs of infrastructure by coordinating with landowners as redevelopment occurs in the area over the next 20 years,” said the planning department report.

“At the same time, the proposed amenities such as future parks, public spaces and the Sutherland Avenue multi-modal corridor, will cater to both the local area and deliver citywide quality of life benefits to Kelowna residents. Overall, analysis confirms the feasibility of integrating the proposed improvements into the City’s capital planning processes over the next 20 years.”

The city estimates the plan will cost $91.5 million over 20 years, with $37.5 million of that being land costs. The remaining $54 million would be project costs.

If council endorses the plan—which opponents have vowed to keep fighting—a number of actions will be triggered including staff working on a package of OCP amendments, updates to the city’s 20-year servicing plan and its 10-year capital plan and an update of the rezoning bylaw to allow for redevelopment in the area.

Council will consider the plan Monday afternoon at city hall.

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