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Highrise support regrettable

Re. Highrise towers in Kelonwa

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and most of his council have declared their love of highrises and they want more.

The word is out and developers flock to Kelowna knowing they can apply for variances for everything and can maximize their return on property they bought on spec. Neighbourhood plans identifying height limits, setbacks, density, access and amenities are irrelevant in this onslaught.

Kelowna has an Official Community Plan but it’s obviously not taken seriously by city council, staff, or developers who purchase land clearly understanding that everything can be changed.

They also know they need to get their applications in now because this council may not survive the next municipal election.

Council’s rush to densify and its certainty that highrises are the only way to go is devoid of imagination and ignores other well-recognized urban design options. Quality of life issues that matter to people who might live here—access to green spaces, sunshine and shadows, a sense of neighbourhood, schools, shops, play areas and public art—are nowhere to be seen.

Coronation Avenue, now slated for three towers taller-than-the-OCP allows, will demolish a neighbourhood with deep historic roots in the community. It doesn’t matter.

And now the old RCMP building (on Doyle Avenue) is slated to become 25 stories. It will dwarf City Hall and clearly broadcast who is running our city. Regrettable.

Sharron J Simpson, Kelowna

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