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20-unit building sparks bigger discussion on traffic impacts on Lakeshore Road

A proposed 20-unit apartment building on Lakeshore Road is headed back to city council on Monday for reconsideration, but it has sparked a wider debate about traffic problems.

On Oct. 30, council gave first reading to a rezoning application for 3593 Lakeshore Rd. to change the property from large lot housing to the apartment housing zone.

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kelowna </who> Location of the proposed four-storey, 20-unit housing project being reconsidered on Dec. 4.

However, during that meeting, several councillors expressed concern about several transportation issues with this application.

Coun. Ron Cannan asked if staff were considering a traffic or transportation study with so many large scale developments going up in this area, including the Movala and Aqua developments.

Coun. Gord Lovegrove was also concerned about the traffic challenges seen on Lakeshore.

Mayor Tom Dyas asked staff to bring the application back with more information on the transportation network and an update on planning around the Pandosy Urban Centre and Lakeshore Road corridor.

A staff report says the city’s policy and planning department is currently working on an “Urban Centres Planning Framework” which is intended to fill the gap between policies and on-the-ground decisions through a new dashboard.

Staff say this will inform decisions around strengths and challenges in urban centres, including those related to infrastructure.

“Work to identify infrastructure constraints and opportunities for investment to service planned density (i.e., fire flow and water supply, intersection improvements, crosswalks, and other active transportation connectivity elements) will be ongoing through this process,” the report says.

That framework is expected to be brought before council by next summer but likely won’t be undertaken until 2025.

<who> Photo Credit: Google </who> View of current developments on Lakeshore Road near Gyro Beach.

The report goes on to say that when development applications are made, the city evaluates servicing requirements (water supply, sewer servicing and site access) and servicing impacts (impacts to available capacity of existing road, water and sewer systems).

Then the city assesses how developers propose to mitigate the project’s impact through developer-provided works and services, cash-in-lieu payments or development cost charges.

When considering impacts to the Lakeshore Road corridor, impacts are rarely identified through each individual project but rather through a cumulative basis because Lakeshore is a major arterial road that services the wider city.

Instead, development impacts on Lakeshore are assessed through network-wide data collection.

The report says acute issues at some intersections peak in the morning near school locations, but solutions to mitigate traffic congestion on Lakeshore Road are “multi-faceted and beyond the scope of any individual development application,” staff say.

The report says staff have secured consultation services for the completion of a Pandosy-Lakeshore Corridor study to help find solutions, which would be at the network-level.

Staff says solutions could see improvements to transit infrastructure, mode-shift incentives, intersection improvements and addressing localized site challenges that affect Lakeshore as a whole.

Although, council will be reconsidering the rezoning for a proposed four-storey, 20-unit apartment building, the discussion will likely focus more on overall infrastructure and transportation improvements in Pandosy and down Lakeshore.

Kelowna City Council will review the rezoning application and host a bigger discussion during the Dec. 4 meeting, which begins at 1:30 pm.

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