Council applauds UBCO's decision to lower height of downtown campus

UBCO tower height reduced

It will still be the tallest building in Kelowna, albeit by just one storey.

UBC Okanagan has tweaked the design of its downtown campus tower, lowering the height from 46 storeys to 43.

While issuing UBCO a development permit for the project, council applauded the institution for listening to some concerns of the public and council over the original 46 storey height.

"I know it's not a lot in the big picture, but it is a recognition that UBC is listening to the community and trying to respond," said Coun. Luke Stack.

"I want to acknowledge the reduction in height after the public hearing and receiving public feedback. It meets a number of our objectives," added Coun. Loyal Wooldridge.

Wooldridge also commended the architect for the sustainability aspects of the project.

"The regenerative resource systems, the heat exchange, the grey-water reuse, the shower water drain recovery, the low carbon concrete. It's not something you normally see in towers.

"I want to commend the architect from that perspective."

He also said the additional 473 rental units is a big win for a city that normally approves about 950 rental units a year.

"That's basically half in one afternoon."

Council voted 8-1 to approve the project, with only Coun. Charlie Hodge voting against.

As he did following the public hearing, Hodge admitted the building looks great and having a university campus downtown is a game changer, but still can't get past the height.

"I think it's overkill myself. I don't think it's necessary to accommodate all the students that need to be there," said Hodge.

"I also think it creates competition for other potential student housing facilities in the downtown. I know a lot of home owners are excited about the idea of having secondary suites and rentals available for students. This certainly flies in the face of that."

Just one step remains before full construction can begin, issuance of a building permit.

More Kelowna News