Say goodbye to sprawl

City council got a close look at what future land use could look like within Kelowna for the next 20 years.

Building on its preferred growth scenario of a gradual shift to urbanization, planning staff presented that vision in sharper detail, one where two-third of the growth (18,750 housing units) will take place within the city's urban core.

It also means an end to urban sprawl, or greenfield growth projects such as Wilden and Kettle Valley.

"Existing neighbourhoods will be completed, but they would represent the last greenfield opportunities," said planner Danielle Noble-Brandt.

"Promoting much of the city's future growth in the core area is one of the most effective actions the city can take to limit sprawl, and more importantly, manage infrastructure investments in a more fiscally responsible approach."

Staff mapped out the city in four distinct areas with specific objectives and goals for each, rural, suburban, core area and urban centres.

  • Rural - Agricultural and resource areas. No further or new developed.
  • Suburban - Residential include single and two-unit development, mainly in communities currently being built out.
  • Core areas - Surrounding the city's five urban centres from Okanagan Lake to Rutland and Knox Mountain to Mission Creek. Provide a wide variety of housing forms, primarily focused on ground-oriented missing-middle housing. Priority area for transportation, infrastructure and parks investments.
  • Urban centres - Hub for employment, shopping, entertainment and high-density residential development. Highest priority for transportation, infrastructure and parks investments.

OCP policy planner Robert Miles added the current industrial zones will remain untouched from the current OCP to safeguard those regions against encroachment from commercial and big big retail stores.

While council did endorse the plan moving forward, Coun. Charlie Hodge did question why UBCO was listed as a suburban area and not an urban centre given the rapid growth around the university and airport.

Although it is an area of significant growth, Miles said UBCO doesn't fit on the same scale as the five urban centres.

He says the city has identified what are being termed employment centres, areas seeing significant redevelopment, multiple employers, multiple commercial services being provided.

"In regards to UBCO, we would acknowledge that we support growth at UBCO as a critical institution for Kelowna, and that we would support providing transit service out into that area, more multi-family housing to build it into a complete community," Miles said.

"But it just wouldn't be necessarily at the same scale as the five urban centres we have identified."

Mayor Colin Basran agreed the suburban tag probably doesn't fit UBCO, but adds it doesn't really fit the downtown-type urban centre either.

"I think what staff took away is it probably needs a different designation to state this is a pretty significant area of growth with the university and the airport," he said.

"Certainly not suburban in nature, and staff wasn't saying it should be, but that's just where it fell lable-wise.

Residents will get a chance to give input when the plan goes to the public later this fall.

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