West Kelowna  

10 storeys in West Kelowna

Let the debate begin.

Is West Kelowna ready for its first 10-storey highrise? And, is Lakeview Heights the right place?

West Kelowna council voted 5-1 Tuesday evening to give second reading to a development on Olalla Road which would include four buildings of between two and six storeys, with one up to 10 storeys.

It would also include a seniors-oriented independent living component, some small commercial spaces and a new fire hall.

While the total number of units have not yet been determined, the concept calls for more than 300 residential units within the development.

The Lakeview Village development would be situated on a property which housed the former Lakeview Heights Elementary school and the current location of fire hall 32.

In exchange for OCP and rezoning amendments, the developer would contribute $2.55 million toward the construction of a new fire hall, estimated to cost between $4 and $5 million.

The developer would build the firehall, however, it would done to specifications and standards set out by the city.

City chief administrative officer Jim Zaffino says the developer would have up to five years to complete the hall, which has outlived its useful life. He says it could be built in stages, so it could be constructed as the city is able to afford it.

Coun. Rick deJong was the only member of council to vote down the development.

He told council he is uncomfortable with the project because the exact city costs for the fire hall are still an unknown.

"I appreciate the hard work of staff and the good intentions of the developer, but we have a public purse to protect, and there are a lot of unknowns in the cost. Not to put it to a tendering process bothers me," said deJong.

He also doesn't believe Lakeview Heights is the right location for the city;s first 10-storey building.

"I know we have an aging firehall, but a density bonus of an additional four storeys to create a 10 storey building, in the middle of Lakeview Heights on a flat plateau area, I don't believe is in the best interests of the community."

Coun. Duane Ophus agreed it may be better if the first 10-storey building was somewhere else, but added this is the area where people want to build it and where people want to live.

"This is where people want to build it and this is where people want to live. Lakeview Heights is a dynamic, up and coming neighbourhood, close to the bridge, close to the City of Kelowna where many people work," said Ophus.

Coun. Bryden Winsby says the development is a test of people's appetite for change in Lakeview Heights.

"It's going to be a good test for people's appetite for change in Lakeview Heights. There are a lot of people who don't necessarily want to live in a large lot in the country," he said.

"I think this kind of development may have a place...it does in my mind. I'm sure a lot will be concerned or opposed, but others will see this as something we need."

A public consultation will be held by the developer before council holds a formal public hearing.

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