We will be watching Kelowna city council’s decision on a development near the hospital with great interest, and we wish neighbours in the area best of luck.
They may need it.
The Kelowna South Central Association of Neighbours is complaining about a project kitty-corner to Kelowna General Hospital, urging city councillors to reject all “variance requests.”
The building — including hotel, commercial space, and the preservation of a heritage home on the lot — is likely going to be approved and built regardless.
But, first, the developer wants to build bigger and cover more ground than is “allowed.”
“This is a massive development. The developer should be denied all of the variances requested, particularly increased site coverage and height,” Penelope Pearson of KSAN says in the group’s
Group president Erica Bell-Lowther said the project would have serious, long-term negative impacts for Kelowna if council votes next Tuesday to grant the necessary variances.
“The development does not substantially meet the primary purpose of the HD2 zone, of supporting Kelowna General Hospital. It is largely retail, hotel, restaurant and parking,” the group’s letter states.
They also don’t like the “ugly” parkade, worry about traffic and that the building will cast shadows over nearby homes.
While we agree it’s large for the area, and likely comes out of nowhere for the people who live next door, it’s another example of “progress.”
We’re not saying this progress is better than what’s there now, but we are saying well-monied forces of development are often more powerful than concerned neighbours.
You can’t fight city hall, especially not often in cases like this.
We think, ultimately, KSAN’s arguments are too thin. Saying this new enterprise will impact the city negatively is hard to comprehend.
Yes, traffic along Pandosy can be a nightmare, but traffic everywhere in this city can be a nightmare the instant more than a dozen vehicles try to get somewhere. And this city administration has proven it doesn’t care about traffic, it wants people to take the bus or their bikes (even when it’s –20 C, snowing and the bus is late).
This particular council has also shown little appetite for going against city planners, and are more guilty of heaping lavish praise on development than critical thinking in defence of taxpayers.
But, that’s not saying they can’t be convinced, and we believe if KSAN gets to councillors, it could have a long-last impact — a roadmap — to fighting city hall for others.
The matter is to be decided June 23, with an anticipated start time on the agenda of 8:45 p.m.
It’s late, but we’ll be watching.
— Managing Editor Dave Trifunov