Veteran councillor, Robert Hobson admits there will be some opposition, but says an ambitious addition planned for the Manteo resort property will be a huge benefit to the city's waterfront.
The proposal, which also has the blessing of the city's planning department, calls for two tower developments, a 12 storey, 69 unit hotel development and a 10 storey, 77 unit apartment/hotel project.
The OCP currently calls for building heights of six storeys along that area of Lakeshore Road.
"I've been around long enough to remember when the Manteo development occurred and it was highly controversial at the time largely because of those nice bright colours," says Hobson.
"Now people point to Manteo as an example of a great development and it's a place to go and stay on the lake. There will be controversy for sure because of the taller buildings, but when you lay out the package and look at the benefits you get in return from the higher density - huge public benefits in terms of access and openness to the site."
Urban Land Use Manager, Danielle Noble says developers plan to phase in the tourist/commercial resort project over a 10 to 15 year period.
"The first phase would take place on the Lakeshore Inn property and would include 18 town home units to be associated with the resort," says Noble.
She says the hotel/apartment towers (phases two and three) would not take place for another 10 years when the existing Manteo leases have run their course.
The first phase of the project will function as part of the Manteo resort complex.
Noble says the long-term development plan will expand hotel, resort and Convention Centre uses in the area now designated Mixed Use Tourism in the OCP.
She adds the community amenity being secured as part of the development is significant enough to justify support for the requested variances.
"The applicant could have maximized access to Okanagan Lake for Phase one in the absence of a rezoning application - and this would have frustrated the city's long term plan plan of securing public access along Okanagan Lake from Rotary Beach to the mouth of Mission Creek," says Noble.
"Although provided to the city as a community amenity to offset the impact of the height associated with phases two and three, a 12 metre Okanagan Lake strip dedication will be concluded as part of phase one."
Councillor Luke Stack says this new proposed project reminds him of development at the Grand and Dolphins several years ago.
"I think people sometimes forget that once upon a time all that Waterfront Park didn't exist and that would have been just development unless a trade off had been made for public amenity in exchange for height," says Stack.
"To me, I see this as really an extension of that very successful policy that we saw downtown. You get a little height but at the same time you get a huge public benefit where the foreshore is opened up to everybody, whether you are staying in the hotel or not."
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