A recent proposal to relocate Costco has prompted neighbours of the new site to try and halt the project.
Their concerns centre around the traffic congestion Costco would generate.
In September, Costco revealed plans to build a 3.6-acre warehouse with 812 parking stalls and a gas bar near the intersection of Baron Road and Leckie Road, just behind the Real Canadian Superstore.
The plan indicates the store would be about 20 per cent larger than the current Costco Highway 97 location, coming in at over 155,000 square-feet.
Ron Ready, a resident in the area of the proposed location, said he is concerned that the already-heavy traffic in the area will become unmanageable if the box store is built.
“We’ve already got more traffic on Leckie than we can handle,” Ready said.
“Putting a new Costco in — it’s going to be larger than the existing one. It’s going to be more people, more vehicles and more traffic congestion.
“There’s no place to widen the roadways or handle the increased traffic.”
Ready, now retired, used to work as a building inspector and then in management, working directly with city planners on projects like this proposal.
He said one of the biggest issues is the plan does not conform to the current Official Community Plan (OCP), which currently doesn’t allow a facility like the proposed Costco for that site unless the city rezone’s the parcel of land.
“There are 1,000 residential units in this area,” said Ready.
“The OCP identifies this land for a medium and high-density multi-family residential. They’re wanting to change it…to accommodate Costco.”
In September, Derek Edstrom, director of divisional partnerships and investments with the City of Kelowna, said residents shouldn’t be concerned about traffic issues surrounding the Costco relocation.
“Costco will be working with our transportation team to make sure it is optimized to work effectively,” he said.
“One positive is that it’s close to its current retail location and we’re not adding to a new area that hasn’t seen a Costco.”
He said the city is also conducting a transportation analysis that will examine a number of transportation improvements in the area.
“Making sure there is good access is a priority for both the city and Costco as well,” said Edstrom.
Once city planners complete their assessment of the development proposal, they will submit a report to city council recommending whether or not the property should be rezoned.
That will likely happen within the next six months, according to city staff.
If approved, the new location would only be a few blocks away of a residential development recently approved by council at the Baron-Dilworth intersection.
The first phase of the project includes three six-storey wood-frame buildings with 297 residential units. The developer has signalled it also wants to build two additional towers between 24 and 27 storeys tall during the second phase of the project, but the council has yet to see the final detail proposal for that phase.
Barring a complete abandonment of the plans, Ready said he doesn’t see any solution that would make the relocation of Costco manageable.
He says area strata councils are planning a presentation to oppose the proposal if and when the required rezoning public hearing takes place.