Skip to content

Kelowna council likes infill housing plan, but sees challenges

‘We have to be thinking about how the neighbourhood will be able to adapt to this change’
Kelowna council heard an update on the city’s infill housing options plan at its May 15, 2023 regular meeting. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)

While city council liked what it saw in a staff-presented infill options housing report at its May 15 regular meeting, there were several concerns.

Mayor Tom Dyas asked about affordable housing.

“I do believe that is a very important part of this. If we are densifying, but we’re densifying at that higher potential market rate, it doesn’t provide any affordable housing.”

Speaking specifically to fourplex developments, staff told council it would be difficult to provide even one unit as affordable, as the project would likely fail financially.

It’s more likely a six to eight-unit project that could produce affordable housing, but such a development may not be suitable for all neighbourhoods.

In April, the provincial government released its plan to increase production of small-scale, multi-unit townhomes by allowing up to four units on single-family detached lot.

READ MORE: B.C. government’s new housing plan ‘ambitious’ but critics call for clarity

While complimenting staff’s plan, Coun. Luke Stack said the real test will be the form and character of infill developments.

“We have to be thinking about how is this going to integrate onto the street and how the neighbourhood will be able to adapt to this change.”

Coun. Gord Lovegrove noted he has knocked on many doors and has heard that some residents are fearful that the character of their neighbourhood is going to be destroyed.

“Can we look at one of our town halls or community of the wholes (meeting) to be part of this and let neighbourhood associations and residents come in and talk to us about this,” he asked.

Coun. Charlie Hodge told staff he would like to see a “green policy” to protect trees on a property planned for infill housing.

“You’re going to get more people, less land, less trees, less green. That’s what we’re doing everywhere we look,” he added.

The staff report finds housing in existing core area neighbourhoods is one of the solutions needed to accommodate expected growth, however, more than 90 per cent of lots in those neighbourhoods are not zoned to permit infill.

The Infill Options report looks at ‘pre-zoning’ that would allow such developments across a larger portion of core area neighbourhoods.

The report also states that while infill will not solve all of Kelowna’s housing challenges, it will help increase supply and diversity.

READ MORE: Apartment complex planned for Kelowna’s Ponds neighbourhood moves forward


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our daily and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
Read more