Residents in Kelowna’s Pandosy-Lakeshore area are begging the city to “take the foot off the accelerator.”
Speaking in a parking lot near Boyce-Gyro Beach on Monday, Brent Warne of the KLO Neighbourhood Association (KLONA) motioned towards nearby vacant lots, trailer parks and affordable housing, cautioning of the towering structures that would soon sit in their place.
Warne spoke as a long-time resident of the area, telling the 50-odd crowd mostly filled with his neighbours, that “hyper-development” is putting enormous stress on the community in a number of ways.
Citing projects like the one set for Hiawatha RV Park, where residents have been served eviction notices to leave by April to make way for a large development, Warne claimed the once-affordable neighbourhood is becoming anything but. Describing the situation, he used the word “gentrification.”
“This area has always been a big mix of social development,” Warne said, mentioning the multi-million dollar lakefront homes within walking distance of affordable units at trailer parks like Hiawatha.
“It’s a real community.”
KLONA claims the city has more than tripled the 1,600 residential units that are called for in the area in the 2010–2030 OCP. With thousands more people pouring into the neighbourhood, Warne claimed already lengthy commute times could become “horrendous.”
And, the costs for those developments could come back to the taxpayers, he claimed. The city has a more than $400-million deficit in funds to cover the cost of growth development. Those funds, Warne asserted, will have to be made up from reserves, borrowing and general taxation increases.
On its website, imaginepandosy.org, KLONA has listed further information regarding developments in the area and is encouraging residents of the area to take an online survey as well as to send their concerns directly to city councillors and the mayor.
While development as a whole is not something opposed by KLONA, Warne said it’s time to slow it down.
“Let’s just coast for a bit.”
The Capital News has reached out to the City of Kelowna for comment.
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