West Kelowna tax hike decreased

Council using money from growth to lower 2018 tax increase to 2.18 per cent

Thanks to new found money from unexpected growth in the city last year, West Kelowna council has reduced the proposed residential tax increase planned for this year.

Using part of $437,514 in discretionary funds generated by new construction in the city, council will reduce this year’s tax hike to 2.18 per cent from the previous 2.58 per cent settled on after council’s budget deliberations in January.

The city says the growth rate in the city was 3.11 per cent in the past year, much higher than the predicted 1.6 per cent when the provisional budget was prepared.

Council is also directing $120,000 of the money to pay for two RCMP reservists to fill the gap while it waits for two more police officers slated for 2019.

In addition, $84,500 will be spent this year to convert two RCMP vehicles to command vehicles with advanced technology and will also transfer $116,507 to reserves for future city expenditures.

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At its meeting earlier this week, council also gave first reading to an Official Community Plan change that could lead to development of a large mixed-use project on Campbell Road in the Casa Loma neighbourhood.

The Blackmun Bay development would include an apartment complex, townhouses, a hotel and related services, spa, fitness and wellness facilities, a winery and restaurant, a beach and boardwalk, a marina and boat launch and associated agritourism activities.

Developers, speaking to West Kelowna council at the meeting, said an existing orchard would be an integral part of the project.

The city says its staff will now work with the applicant to prepare a draft comprehensive development zone for the 7.1 hectare property for consideration by council at an upcoming meeting.

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Council voted to keep its current system for increasing financial compensation for the mayor and councillors.

Increases in salaries in West Kelowna are tied to the rise in the annual consumer price index, which went up 2.1 per cent last year, according to city staff.

Currently the mayor is paid $65,870 per year and councillors receive $22,357 per year.

A city staff report says by keeping the status quo, the mayor’s salary will rise to $67,253 this year and $68,666 in 2019 if the rate of inflation stays the same. Councillors salaries will jump to $22,826 this year and $23,306 in 2019.

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Council postponed consideration of a multiple family and hillside development permit to facilitate allow for construction of six single family homes and six duplexes.

The 1.99-hectare property is located in the South Boucherie neighbourhood, adjacent to the Mission Hill Winery 800 metres west of Green Bay. The property is steeply sloped with slopes greater than 40 percent on the western and eastern portion of the site, say staff.

The central portion of the site has slopes between 20 and 40 percent and the property is vacant with stands of Ponderosa pine, shrubs and grasses. It is accessed through an existing single family subdivision off Golden View Drive via Apple Way Boulevard.

Council said it wanted more information review related to the form and character of the proposed development and additional information about site access.

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