A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)

A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)

Kelowna council approves rezoning for contentious Costco relocation

Despite feedback from residents, council gave Costco the green light on Tuesday evening

Despite critical feedback from residents, Kelowna city council has decided to move the proposed Costco relocation forward.

After nearly two-and-a-half hours of presentations, public input and deliberation, council approved an OCP amendment and rezoning application on Tuesday evening (Jan. 12) that will allow the big box store to move to the corner of Leckie, Baron and Springfield roads. The new location is 770 metres away from Costco’s current location along highways 33 and 97 but will allow for more parking, a larger warehouse and a gas bar. Councillors Loyal Wooldridge and Charlie Hodge were the lone votes against the rezoning as council passed the items by a 7–2 vote.

READ MORE: Kelowna implements revised public hearing protocols

READ MORE: Kelowna’s 2040 Official Community Plan nears completion

The primary concerns expressed by residents during the public hearing were traffic-related — as they have been since Costco announced its intentions for the site in 2019.

The area is abutted by several residential complexes — townhouses, apartment buildings and seniors homes — the residents of which say an already busy traffic situation in the area will only be exacerbated by the introduction of a Costco.

Council ultimately decided Costco had made a sufficient effort to remedy potential issues, with plans to invest around $2.5 million to partially fund upgrades for neighbouring roads. Those upgrades will include new turning lanes onto Leckie Road off Highway 97 and Springfield Road, widening Leckie to have four through lanes and one middle turning lane, and the implementation of a signalized intersection at Leckie and Parkview Crescent, among other improvements. Council was particularly excited by plans for a multi-use corridor along Leckie Road, improving cyclist and pedestrian access in the area, which was another concern expressed by residents.

“Although Costco and staff have worked hard to improve traffic flow, I still think it’s going to be a bit of a nightmare in that particular location,” said Coun. Charlie Hodge, adding the location is prime land for a different kind of development.

“You don’t find much land that large in our city anymore… This is not the best use of that land in a community that is rapidly running out of land for housing.”

Through the course of the public hearing, residents suggested more suitable locations for a new Costco, pointing north to a previously-discussed location near the airport. However, the location of developments is out of council’s hands.

“As councillors, you don’t get to choose what comes to council; you get to choose how you vote when it comes to council,” said Coun. Ryan Donn.

As the city continues to vie for more densification and overall compactness throughout the city in a residential context, resident Jean-Claude Gavrel suggested commercial developments need to be held to the same requirements. He said council needs to ask whether Costco needs more land or more space. Costco has maintained throughout the proceedings with the city that building either a parkade or a second floor to decrease the store’s footprint is not feasible.

“The current trend in urban development throughout the world is more compactness… If you’re going to apply compactness to residential you need to apply compactness to commercial as well,” Gavrel said, citing Ikea as a warehouse-style store that has successfully built “upwards instead of outwards.”

Those comments echoed with Mayor Colin Basran, who has long championed densification in the city, specifically within urban cores. But he also said the city needs balance within those core areas.

“Sprawl isn’t just residential, it’s also commercial,” he said, adding that moving the project to the outskirts of town would have been “just as detrimental” in different ways.

Basran maintained the growth lost by building a Costco instead of more residential units could be accommodated in other areas, both nearby and in other town centres.

The developers expressed an intention to have the new store open by Fall 2021, but shovels won’t hit the ground quite yet. Costco will now need to apply for a development permit, which will require council to take one more look at the proposal before it’s finalized.

For that, Basran outlined a few things he hopes will be addressed. He‘ll be looking for a good cycling and pedestrian experience in the area, showers and other end-of-trip facilities for Costco employees who want to bike to work and a strong landscaping plan to ensure that the facility integrates into the community.

The mayor also suggested future plans for a connection between the Okanagan Rail Trail and the Mission Park Greenway could be expedited as part of the planned improvements to the area. Currently, that plan is not scheduled to be set in motion until 2024.

READ MORE: Contentious Kelowna Costco relocation moved to public hearing

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

A rendering of BC Housing’s proposed 20-storey rental development at 1451 and 1469 Bertram Street in downtown Kelowna. (Contributed)
BC Housing hoping to build 20-storey rental housing tower in downtown Kelowna

The building would create ‘urgently needed’ new affordable rental housing units downtown

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read