Traffic impacts hotel plan

Some on Kelowna city council voiced concerns Monday over the possible traffic impact of a new hotel proposed for the intersection of Spall Road and Enterprise Way.

A traffic study of the area requested by the city and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure showed the corridor, including Highway 97, already at capacity.

Some on council wondered how that would affect the development in question, which includes plans for a six-storey Hyatt hotel and multi-use development on what is currently a vacant lot.

City planner Terry Barton suggested there is currently nothing that can be done to improve traffic flow, saying staff would have had the conversation with the developer if there was a reasonable measure available to upgrade the corridor.

However, located on the edge of a town centre, it's believed a development such as this would have less of an impact on traffic than other proposals the city has received for the site, such as a gas station or car dealership.

"Our hope, by encouraging mixed use in this case, is that people will look at different modes of transportation," said Barton. "Having people live in the area with an employment hub within a few blocks away is encouraging, and perhaps people won't use their cars as much. We have a hope that people will change their pattern of use."

The area is near Parkinson Rec Centre, transit, multi-use pathways and the Landmark employment hub.

Coun. Ryan Donn said the only traffic solution for the area on the books is what is known as the Clement or Highway 33 extension. He asked that a status report on that be made available when this development comes up for public hearing.

Coun. Luke Stack said he believes while developments like this may take the brunt of criticism for traffic impacts, the real pressure comes from people driving in from Glenmore and other areas.

The proposed developments are being restricted to six storeys in height, something Coun. Charlie Hodge found confusing.

"This is an area where we should be encouraging height," he said, suggesting there would be nothing wrong with something in the 16-storey range.

Staff did indicate a restrictive covenant to six storeys was included to go along with other four- to six-storey proposals on adjacent properties.

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