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More amenities needed in major Harvey, Burtch redevelopment, says Kelowna council

Kelowna City Council had plenty of feedback for an ambitious plan to redevelop a large property off Highway 97, across from the Landmark District.

During the Monday meeting, council was asked to give feedback on a draft Burtch/Harvey Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) and to authorize the preparation of the final draft.

The developer, Dialog, submitted a 159-page draft plan in April for 1574 and 1634 Harvey Ave.

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kelowna

The draft ARP shows that residential units could range from 1,600-1,700 and proposed about 2,000 m2 of office space and 3,000 m2 of commercial/retail space in buildings with heights between six and 26 storeys, said the staff report presented to council.

Staff told council there would be a mix of condos, rentals and potentially affordable market housing.

Taller buildings would be located along Harvey Avenue while the shorter ones would front onto Burtch Road and staff said density and height bonuses could potentially be given to the project, which could see buildings soar to 40 storeys in height.

A staff report said parks and outdoor spaces would be integrated into the site with pedestrian connections running through the property alongside roadways.

However, a need for more green space and amenity areas was a common theme in the council discussion.

Coun. Luke Stack said he agreed that the site was an ideal location for density, however, he expected to see more amenity space.

“It should not be assumed that the city is going to provide all the amenities and everything for these future residents,” he said.

“I do think it needs to be part of a complete community plan,” he said.

“When you’re talking at perhaps 1,600 or 1,700 residents, I would expect to be seeing a lot of supports, whether that's opportunities for child care on site, some open space, connectivity, all of the things that make a complete community.”

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kelowna

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge shared similar sentiments, adding that this type of density in a core area made sense but he wanted to see more tenants.

“It would be my expectation that with this amount of density the applicant will come forward with a robust plan for people to be able to recreate and live on site,” he said, adding he was happy to see preliminary plans for rental units

Coun. Gord Lovegrove said he was not comfortable with seeing buildings proposed to be 40 storeys and said the buildings could be spread out a bit more. He also agreed that more on-site amenities would be needed.

The need for more amenity space was also brought up by coun. Maxine DeHart but she did not want to see amenities carried by the people of Kelowna.

“This is your job, you have a lot of land there and I would like to see amenities, green space and recreation,” she said.

“I don’t want the taxpayers of Kelowna to think just because we're going to have this brand new Parkinson Recreation Centre, that this is going to be their place. The reason I say this, this will be a real community and there should be community amenities.”

Council was told that there was still time for negotiations with the developer, however.

The proposal will now move to the “refinement” stage, which staff said will take a few months but will include the developer creating the final ARP for review.

That will be followed by staff bringing forward an OCP amendment, which will require a public hearing, and a rezoning application to council for consideration at a future date.

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