Park with a view

An artist rendering for the rooftop of the Innovation Centre, opened in 2017, showed 8,000 square feet of lawn providing a park-like setting on the roof. The city will encourage more rooftop parks in the future, council will hear Monday.

New city parks may be built on roads and rooftops as a way of lowering their construction cost, Kelowna councillors will hear Monday.

As well, more linear parks are contemplated and the city will look for the cheapest land available when planning the location of new parks.

Some innovative approaches to park development are suggested by city staff as part of planning the municipality’s infrastructure needs out to 2040, by which time Kelowna’s population is forecast to be about 180,000.

“The acquisition and development of park space will be key to meet the needs of the 2040 official community plan growth scenario,” reads part of a staff report to council.

The city has plans for a new development cost charge, which are fees paid by the builders of new homes, to accelerate the development of municipally-owned, currently vacant land into usable parks.

That fee might add will add more than $7,000 to the total DCCs paid by builders, to about $36,000 for an average single-family home. Comparable total DCCs are $41,000 in Richmond and Surrey, $18,000 in Nanaimo, and $26,000 in Vernon.

The long-range infrastructure plan is intended to provide a guide on how services such as city water lines, sewage lines, and solid waste disposal services should expand and adapt to match future demand.

For parks, the acquisition of large, flat areas needed for sports fields and ball diamonds will become “increasingly challenging” because of Kelowna’s topography and development patterns, the report states.

During the next phase of the official community plan’s development, specific locations will be identified as future parks sites. “Low current land values and city ownership will be among the primary drivers in determining park location,” the report states.

More amenities will be put into smaller parks, particularly in urbanized areas, as a way of reducing development cost, the report says. And new types of parks, including “shared streets, pedestrian or green streets, pocket parks, or rooftop parks” will be proposed in the future.