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Future real estate developers will now be on the hook to pitch in on the development of new and old parks in Kelowna.
On Monday, in a 6-2 vote, city council agreed to add a new Parks Development DCC to the tune of $7,180 per newly constructed household.
That’s on top of the already mandated $7,346 new home builders are required pay for a Parks Acquisition DCC.
Concern was raised over the new construction tax being passed on to new buyers in the form of higher home prices, but council ultimately decided the tax is a necessary growing pain to develop already purchased park space that city staff argues adds to the quality of the Okanagan lifestyle.
“There is a situation where the public cannot understand why the acquired parkland is not being developed,” said councillor Luke Stack.
“The reason is we haven’t had a consistent mechanism to fund the development of the acquired parkland. There was strong pushback from developers when a Parks Development DCC was proposed in 2011, they said wait until market conditions improve, but developers remain opposed to it, so when is a good time?”
As one of two votes opposed to the proposal, councillor Brad Sieben agreed the current Parks DCC isn’t best practice, however, concerns over affordability mean more consideration should be put into different options including restructuring the current rate.
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Home Builders Association and the Urban Development Institute all submitted letters of opposition to the proposal.
Organizations such as Interior Health, UBCO and Rutland Resident’s Association wrote letters in support of the new Parks Development DCC.
With councillor Gail Given absent, councillors Sieben and Mohini Singh voted against the proposal while Mayor Colin Basran along with councillors Charlie Hodge, Luke Stack, Maxine DeHart, Loyal Woolridge and Ryan Donn voted for.