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Problems with tall buildings

Kelowna is such a naturally beautiful location, that’s why many of us live here.

Buildings of six or fewer storeys contribute the least to CO2 emissions. The electricity and gas needed by taller towers (with significant glass) is what tips the balance.

Taller towers may provide the best views of Kelowna’s natural setting but create a negative effect on climate.

Why is Kelowna striving for taller towers? It’s certainly not for density because some of the most densely populated countries in the world, such as the Netherlands, have very few buildings taller than 10 storeys. Developers propose tall towers because the financial benefit of the upper floors is a net gain for their investors.

Most people would love an unobstructed view of Lake Okanagan. Tall towers provide great views for the few who can afford to live on the higher floors. But the average resident, and the pedestrian on the street, will have no benefit because the footprint of the building is maximized to property lines to accommodate parking. At ground level, tall skinny buildings cover the same area as wider buildings.

A taller structure is often cited as having less shadow but physics shows us that when the area inside a building is equal, the shadow created by thin and tall is the same as short and stout.

I respectfully ask city council and city planners to consider the environment and liveability of our neighbourhoods when considering buildings taller than six storeys.

Paul Clark, Kelowna

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The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. Castanet does not in any way warrant the information presented.

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