Kelowna council has approved tax exemptions for rental-only apartment developments in the city.
The program, established in 2006, gives development proposals that meet the eligibility criteria of the bylaw a 10-year tax holiday.
Its purpose is to encourage and incentivize new residential and commercial developments in strategic areas of urban centres, and the construction of new purpose-built rental housing.
City staff told council that the exemption applies only to the value of improvements to the land. Taxes on the land are still required to be paid.
Developments at 155 Bryden Road, 235 Hollywood Road North, and 2241 Springfield Road have been granted exemptions.
“Impressive amount of units to come online, that’s great to see,” said Coun. Loyal Wooldridge.
He also asked about building affordability into the city’s rental housing agreements.
Staff told council that a review of the revitalization and tax exemption program is underway, and affordability is an item that is being looked at.
The three exemptions equal a $482,579 impact on tax revenue to the city over the 10 years, with the developments providing 688 total rental units.
“Looking back over the years when these tools were implemented by the city we did start seeing an uptick in rental development,” explained Coun. Luke Stack, who also pointed out that Kelowna’s vacancy rate is less than one per cent.
“We had seen a long stretch with virtually no rentals or very few.’
More than 45 developments, including over 3,000 rental apartments, have benefited from the city program since it began.