Capri plan gets political

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran took some of his councillors to task after a decision on the long-range redevelopment of the Capri-Landmark town centre hit a snag.

The plan, as laid out by staff would include a massive redo of the area stretching from Gordon Drive to Spall Road, over about a 30-year period. The realignment of Sutherland Road would be part of plan, as would the acquisition of lands for parks and open space.

While councillors Luke Stack and Brad Sieben have voted against portions of the plan during various stages of the process, four other councillors joined in voting to defer a decision to let staff take a second look at their concerns.

"The option is sprawl and do it at double the cost, or do it in a cost-effective manner that's really going to propel Kelowna forward as a very progressive city," said Basran.

"I would support a deferral, but it's with a lot of reluctance because I think the plan as presented is phenomenal. I think it's a victim of timing on three or four particular individuals - who one of them even said I think it's a pretty good plan - I think is unfortunate."

Basran also accused Stack of some "shrewd politicking," after the veteran councillor compared this to the CD21 redevelopment plan for downtown which was shot down nearly a decade ago.

"I have not been shrewdly politicking on this issue," Stack shot back.

"I have consistently said from the first time it was presented that I have real issues with the Sutherland connection as proposed. That's my own opinion...I arrived at that conclusion when it was presented a year ago."

After the meeting, Basran wouldn't go so far as to say he thought councillors voted the way they did because because they are in the middle of an election campaign.

"I guess I was having a hard time understanding if they are in favour of most of the plan...I don't think we'll ever be able to put together a plan that everyone, council and landowners are 100 per cent in favour of."

Stack, and many on council said they heard from small business owners who were dead set against the plan because land for roads or parks could mean they would be forced to find another location for their business.

Some on council believe there was not enough consultation with those businesses, and not a lot of thought was put into their possible removal.

Coun. Ryan Donn, who, along with Coun. Gail Given voted against deferral, vehemently disagreed with putting the vote off.

"I think we've got the information. We know it needs a road...it's pretty obvious," he said.

"Yes, there are five perhaps upset landowners versus 8,000 ,potential new residents. I would pick the residents over the landowners every day of the week."

Council was without a realignment of Sutherland Avenue, taking it out to Spall, the plan can't work.

They are being asked to give that a second look.

The plan itself is estimated to cost about $96 million over the next 30 years. Staff indicated it would cost three of four times that much to build something at the edge of town that could house 8,000 people.

There is presently a moratorium on development in the area until a plan is adopted.

A new version of the plan isn't expected to be brought back until a new council is sworn in.

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