An apartment building development proposed near the Parkinson Recreation Centre sparked debate at a public hearing Jan. 17.
The issue for several area residents is they feel the building is too tall for their neighbourhood.
“We are a three-storey building, this is going to be a six-storey building, we are going to be kissing balconies,” said one resident.
Another neighbour added, “it’s just not the right size for the area we are in.”
The development, by Westpoint Projects, proposes 150 rental units, with one storey of at-grade parking and five storeys of apartments at 1575 Bernard Avenue, near Burtch Road.
Coun. Gord Lovegrove noted that the city received 100 per cent opposition to the project in written comments.
“Is there anybody in favour of this thing?”
While zoning can allow up to six storeys, as the project is along a transit route, Coun. Ron Cannan said that it shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion.
“I believe in more responsible development and not development at all cost,” he added.
Cannan and Lovegrove said while they believed it was a good development, they shared residents’ concerns that the building is too tall and wanted the developer to reconsider its project.
Coun. Loyal Wooldridge pointed out that Kelowna currently has a 0.6 per cent vacancy rate.
“Week after week we get emails from people that are living in their cars, that can’t find a place to live and can’t work in our stores,” he said.
Wooldridge added that council has heard loud and clear that high-rises, sprawl development and carriage houses are not wanted.
“I would urge my colleagues that this is the exact development we need in Kelowna to meet the needs, especially of our young people.”
Coun. Luke Stack said one of the challenges previous councils have wrestled with is how to grow the city, and accommodate new people coming to the community.
“If we don’t do that then essentially what I guess we’re finally concluding is that Kelowna is not going to grow,” he added.
Many residents said they liked the development, but voiced other concerns about parking, traffic, density and lost views. Several councillors noted that even a two or three-storey building would block some views of nearby buildings.
Council voted 6-2 in favour, with Cannan and Lovegrove opposed, of moving the project forward.