Public perception over plans for the old Tolko mill site and the city’s north end has been raised by a couple of Kelowna councillors.
Staff presented concept plans for the area at council’s Monday (July 24) meeting.
Coun. Mohini Singh noted that she has received pushback from residents living on Manhattan Drive about potential negative impacts on their neighbourhood.
“They are quite passionate about it. I hope staff will take time to explain to residents how this will impact them.”
The North End Plan (NEP) will guide and manage growth in the area over the next 20-plus years, and will also give higher-level direction to development of the mill site.
Previous public engagement showed a desire for affordable and varied housing; parks and public spaces; recreational and community facilities; schools and childcare spaces; as well as shops and services.
Affordable housing was an item Coun. Rick Webber was pleased to see.
“People I know have suggested that at some point when the mill site starts getting developed it’s just going to be an enclave for the rich. If we have plans to prevent that from happening all the better.”
Coun. Maxine DeHart urged staff to ensure residents fully understand what the city has planned for the North End.
“I think we have to do a better job, especially on this site, I think people are a bit anxious about what’s happening.”
Staff will undertake a comprehensive public engagement plan over the next month with opportunities for Kelowna residents to have their say on the NEP.
Once that process is complete, a preferred plan will be presented to council and the public for review in September.
The final plan is expected in late 2023 or early 2024.