Aug 17, 2012 / 4:26 pm
The City of Kelowna and Interior Health have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which could see the health authority re-locate community and corporate services into one downtown facility.
The proposed location, a city owned parking lot at the corner of Doyle Avenue and Ellis Street across from Memorial Arena, could house up to 1,000 permanent jobs.
Along with the facility, the city is proposing to construct a new parkade in the current parking lot between Memorial Arena and the Kelowna Museum and add on to the existing Library Parkade.
The city would sell Interior Health the seven parcels of land currently situated along Doyle Avenue between Ellis and St. Paul.
The sale price would be $2.75M.
The city would also be required to borrow approximately $15M through the Municipal Finance Authority for development of the two parkades.
An Alternative Approval Process would also be initiated to gauge community support for borrowing those funds.
In a report prepared for Monday's City Council meeting, General manager of Corporate Sustainability, Doug Gilchrest, says the city would be responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of the extension and the new parking facility.
"The extension will be designed with ground floor retail fronting the east and south edges, thereby improving the pedestrian realm in the cultural district," says Gilchrest.
"The building which IHA will lease, will also be designed to have a substantive amount of active street frontage on the east, west and north edges."
In addition, Gilchrest says Interior Health would lease about 410 parking stalls in the extension or new facility for daytime lease. 380 or those would be available to the general public during evenings and weekends.
The balance of the newly constructed stalls would be available for public use seven days a week.
Gilchrest says the proposed project is an example of two levels of government working together for the needs of Kelowna residents.
"The city can spark downtown development by providing land for purchase to Interior Health. This will bring nearly 1,000 people into the area, riding transit, supporting business and possibly choosing to live in the neighbourhood," says Gilchrest.
"The project provides long term benefits for the downtown as a whole and is supported in the city's Official Community Plan and the Downtown Plan."
Portions of the property in question would need to re re-zoned to accommodate the project.
Gilchrest says the ultimate decision on zoning remains with council.
"It is understood by the parties that council is not compromising its discretion over the approval of the proposed rezoning by endorsing the MOU."
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