(Photo/City of Kelowna)

Kelowna council gets a look at Phase 2 of North End Plan

Plan intended to guide the growth of the North End for the next 20 years

Kelowna council likes what it sees so far in the North End Plan (NEP)

Staff presented Phase 2 of the four-phase plan to council at their April 11 regular meeting. Phase 2 is the visioning stage of the process which involved existing plans and policies, public engagement, and a staff technical review in helping to establish how the neighbourhood will look, feel, and function.

“This is going to be a complete gamechanger for our city,” said Councillor Mohini Singh. “Very, very important piece of development, you know it will change the look of our city as we know it. I urge the public to engage with us so we all can come up with something that will define our future and change the way the North End looks as we want it.”

Extensive engagement has been done to this point and further engagement is expected during other phases of the NEP, said Aaron Thibeault, senior planner with the city.

The plan, launched in 2021, is intended to guide the growth of the North End for the next 20 years. It addresses community needs, land use, housing, transportation, parks and public spaces, and utility servicing.

Themes from public consultation focused on local businesses and services, housing availability and affordability, waterfront access, parks and recreation, walkability and bikeability, art, culture, and heritage.

Acting mayor Gail Given was also impressed with the work done by staff so far.

“I quite like the vision that was arrived at as a result of the feedback from those who are in the area,” added Given. “I think it’s certainly a good stepping-off point for us as we move forward.”

A staff report said many participants stated a need for greater affordability of housing and spoke to the increasing presence of homelessness in the neighbourhood, as well as the need for more permanent housing solutions and support for people experiencing homelessness.

There was support for more of the waterfront to be opened to public access, increasing park and green space, better pedestrian and biking infrastructure, acknowledgment of the Syilx/Okanagan culture, as well as preserving and commemorating local history. A need to incorporate art, entertainment, and culture was also noted.

Phase 3 of the NEP will use the draft vision and objectives to develop concept plans for council to review, and public engagement to help choose a preferred concept for council endorsement. The preferred concept would be used to develop a draft plan in Phase 4.

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