West Kelowna  

West Kelowna could see 10,000 new residents within 15 years

Mayor touts growth, city hall

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

"There's a lot going on, so buckle up"

With those words, West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom spoke of a rosy future ahead for the city during his annual state of the city address to the Greater Westside Board of Trade.

Milsom says since incorporating in 2007, the city's population has grown about 35 per cent, and shows no sign of slowing down.

"Our average population increase since incorporation is 1.9 per cent per year, from 27,000 to about 36,000," said Milsom.

"If we grow at 1.6 per cent per year, by 2036, we'll have about 45,000 people just in West Kelowna. That doesn't include those who live on Westbank First Nation land or Peachland."

In order to house those people, he says the city will require about 4,600 additional housing units...more if growth is higher.

Milsom said the city has been trending upward in terms of commercial, industrial and residential building, with a record $140 million in building permits approved in 2019 alone.

"We've average about $85 million in building permits a year since incorporation. We've been above the average the last four years."

Business has also thrived the past dozen years.

Milsom says there are nearly 2,100 active business licenses in the city, compared to less than 500 in 2008.

"There's also a lot of home-based businesses here in West Kelowna.

"I guess that's why people come here, for the lifestyle. You can work part of the day, then you can go out maybe skiing for part of the afternoon, or biking."

The mayor touched on numerous other topics, including a new city hall, which has drawn push back from some segments of the population.

"The support far outweighs the negative feedback we've seen in our community. We have tremendous amount of support.

"I think people realize our current facilities are temporary. They've been temporary for 10 years, and it's about time we had a proper first city hall for our growing community."

Milsom reiterated however, the city's number one priority remains construction of the Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant. Construction is finally expected to begin later this year.

On downtown revitalization, Milsom says he still envisions a downtown that has the look of South Pandosy in Kelowna.

"It will occur. It definitely will occur. The supply will meet the demand."

On the possibility of an urgent care centre in the city, he says he is scheduled to meet with Health Minister Adrian Dix in May.

"More importantly, we've had some good meetings with Interior Health senior management here in our community," he said.

"We explained to them the need for an urgent/primary care centre for the Greater Westside. We've had some really great conversations with them, and I believe they paid attention.

"I believe they are doing some due diligence and some homework as we speak. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that we are next in line."

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West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom will deliver his annual state of the city address today.

The mayor is scheduled to speak at a sold out Greater Westside Board of Trade sponsored luncheon at Kelly O'Bryans Restaurant.

Milsom is expected to review the last 12 months and look to what's ahead at the city.

Castanet will broadcast the mayor's speech live.

Milson is scheduled to begin speaking at 12:30.

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