Kelowna Council urged to develop plan for fast-changing North Finish | Information
Kelowna’s North End is changing and city staff say now is the time to figure out how it should develop going forward.
City planning staff will lay a four-phase process Monday for council that will look at the area, come up with a vision, gather feedback from the public and key players and develop concepts before a final plan is written.
“The North End is one of the most dynamic and diverse neighbourhoods in Kelowna and it is changing rapidly,” says the staff report to be presented to council.
“There is now a window of opportunity to help set the course for the long-term evolution of this complex, vital and exciting part of our community.”
Key to the timing is the closure of the Tolko lumber mill on the lakeshore at the foot of Knox Mountain and the redevelopment of that site, as well as the listing for sale of the adjacent B.C. Tree Fruits site at $20 million.
It is expected the North End Plan, as it has been dubbed, will move ahead in conjunction with the plans for the redevelopment of the 40-acre Tolko site and will incorporate it, once complete.
While the North End contains a range of distinct areas — residential housing, long-established business, new business, recreational and industrial sections and the growing Brewery District along Richter Street —a thorough co-ordinated neighbourhood plan will provide clear guidance to the area as it faces pressure to change, say city staff.
The North End is one of the city’s oldest areas and home to 1,500 residents, 800 homes and 226 businesses, according to the city.
The staff report says there is now a good opportunity to look at issues such as the future of industrial development in the North End and how will fit in going forward, housing, transportation and density.
It says the area is facing pressure to change on a number of different fronts, including with the shutdown of the railway into the area and its replacement with the popular Rail Trail, some of the highest density residential and mixed-use development in the city, redevelopment along Clement Avenue, commercial, food and beverage uses competing for space with industrial uses and the
closure and planned redevelopment of the Tolko site.
“A North End Plan will provide the opportunity to clarify the community’s vision for the neighbourhood, answering some of the big, outstanding questions, such as: What is the future of industrial in the North End? What is the role of multi-unit residential development? Can industrial uses co-exist with residential and commercial? Is there
an opportunity to expand housing options in the area?” says the planning department report.
Given that the city sees the timeline for creating a North End Plan as “urgent,” it wants the applicants for the mill site Area Redevelopment Plan to contribute money to help add “dedicated” resources to complete all the planning in what the city describes as a timely manner.
City staff want to complete the planning process within 18 months and estimates the cost will be about $465,000.