Kelowna council endorses outside-the-box development

Support for new concept

Kelowna city council has again thrown its support behind what planning staff term a "pilot project development," incorporating industrial and residential uses.

Emil Anderson Construction, who brought forward the project, was unanimously awarded a development permit to move ahead with what will eventually be a four-storey industrial-residential building at Ethel Street and Crowley Avenue.

"Industrial and residential uses have traditionally thought to be conflicting land uses," planner Aaron Thibeault told council.

However, as mixed-use buildings have gained in popularity recently, the concept of including industrial and residential uses in the same building have gained greater acceptance."

While the concept has been tried on other B.C. communities, it will be a first in Kelowna.

Council initially endorsed the proposal in a slightly different form in early 2019. Thibeault said there was a delay in getting started, but says they are now ready to move forward.

The building would include three floors of industrial use with 10 apartments on the fourth.

He said the apartments are intended for workers on site, however, there is nothing formal in writing to ensure this.

"I am totally in support of the concept, and think it's long overdue," said Coun. Charlie Hodge.

"I think in this particular area, it's a great idea."

Hodge did caution about stating the suites would only be used for employees at the site.

When asked about protecting the city's industrial land base, Thibeault said the development is not limiting industrial use on the lot, but instead adding to it.

The city will use this as a pilot project before determining whether similar applications will be approved.

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