Public input must be heard

How Kelowna grows shall be shaped largely by the 2040 Official Community Plan.

Imagine Kelowna and the 2040 Transportation Master Plan were created by the Kelowna community for Kelowna. The city council, staff and private consultants have done a remarkably good job in putting these documents together, with public, government and stakeholder’s input.

The Imagine Kelowna goals are also aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. One of the principles guiding Kelowna’s growth is a community where decisions are made ethically and where social and environmental concerns are prioritized.

The outcome objectives are:

• To make smart choices about how and where Kelowna grow.

• To protect what we love about Kelowna for future generations because the decisions we make today affect tomorrow.

• Tomorrow starts with strong, strategic plans that put people first.

It is thus logical that new city initiatives, land use, transportation, safety, planning, policy and investments guide private initiatives and investments in the city and should be decided with input from the 2040 Official Community Plan and its guiding principles, along with updated resident and stakeholder consultation and participation.

The recent decisions the city Council made on some land use and developments raises doubt whether some councillors followed the principles and guidelines developed by community input and approved by the city to aid city decision-making or they simply facilitated the outcome just to increase Kelowna’s tax revenue and private enterprise profits.

Examples of doubts are related to the Kelowna Spring Golf Course land use designation, the UBCO tower zoning change to 46 (then reduced to 43) storeys and Hart Road residences concern, among others.

What weight did the public and stakeholder participation and input, and environmental concerns, have in the decision-making on these controversial outcomes?

Residents and stakeholders have expressed that for these controversial outcomes, the decisions have not put people first, as reiterated in city’s vision “tomorrow starts with strong, strategic plans that put people first.”

Residents have the choice in the upcoming election of electing the city council members who will put people and sustainable development programs first, ahead of just money-making ventures.

Amar(jit) Chadha

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