For the record

The June 18 letter, “Getting short end of lease”, on Castanet, contained several inaccurate statements.

In keeping with the City’s Civic Precinct Plan, the development at 350 Doyle Avenue calls for a mixed-use redevelopment of the site that includes housing & mixed-use commercial. This need for additional housing options in the downtown core is only strengthened by the recent announcement of a UBCO downtown Campus.

The development of the property is part of a long-term, 80- to 99-year land lease, meaning the land stays with the City. The City will receive $7M for the initial 80-year lease, with additional compensation due at future fair market value for the final 19 years. Of the $7M, the City is re-investing $4.3M into the site in the form of the inclusion of 6,000 square feet of community amenity space, an extension of the Artwalk and a Civic Plaza. All of these features enhance the connectivity between the new development and the Cultural District, provide important community gathering spaces and will be delivered without a direct impact on taxation.

The areas within the Civic Precinct Plan are home to some of the most important buildings and public spaces in Kelowna (i.e. Kasugai Gardens, Artwalk, RCA, Laurel Packinghouse and Art Gallery), so we do not take the planning for this area lightly. The civic precinct area  is an important space that helps to shape the image and identity of our city, which is why significant effort was expended in establishing the Civic Precinct Plan , which was endorsed by Council in March 2016.   This development proposal is consistent with the vision established by the Civic Precinct Plan.

Community consultation for this plan was carried out between April 2015 and March 2016, including a broad cross-section of the community in face-to-face meetings, community workshops, drop-in sessions and online tools to understand the community’s values and shape the final Plan. In fact, 27 stakeholder groups participated in the public engagement process, 80 participants at the two community workshops and 150 participants at two public open house events.

During community engagement, it was made clear that it was important that the financial burden of revitalizing the area did not fall solely on taxpayers, which is why delivering a ‘package deal’ is an important consideration in the development of this site.

This development supports the momentum of the Cultural District and fills the need for more housing options downtown, in addition to delivering new spaces and amenities that will benefit the entire community.

Graham Hood, City of Kelowna

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