Tower

A developer's proposal to offer 26 studio suites for rent at more than $2,000 a month in this new highrise as part of a so-called 'attainable housing' scheme was dismissed as insufficient Monday by Kelowna city council.

A developer’s proposal to offer “attainable” studio apartments at more than $2,000 a month in a tower to be built on city-owned land was described Monday as insulting.

City councillors unanimously rejected the housing agreement that was proposed for the 25-storey highrise planned for 350 Doyle Ave.

They said it didn’t go nearly far enough in providing some below-market rental suites, which they said was a key reason why the city had agreed to the project in the first place.

“I was actually insulted by this report, I’ll be honest with you,” said Coun. Maxine DeHart.

“I’m not supportive of this at all,” added Coun. Loyal Wooldridge.

Coun. Luke Stack noted studio apartments can generally be rented now for about $1,400 a month in Kelowna, considerably below what the developer was proposing to offer the so-called ‘attainable’ units for when the tower is constructed.

“It doesn’t seem like we’re actually getting any benefit,” Stack said. “It’s really not accomplishing anything.”

“This to me is a little bit disingenuous because it does not keep to the spirit of what we would term affordable or attainable housing,” said Coun. Mohini Singh. “This is city-owned land and we need to lead by example.”

Mayor Tom Dyas, who kicked off the council discussion by suggesting the housing proposal was not acceptable, said the developer will now be expected to draw up a new housing agreement for the city to consider.

The tower will be built on what was the site of the former Kelowna RCMP detachment. The ill-fated housing agreement was to have applied to 26 of the 260 suites. The other suites will be rented at going market rates when the tower is finished.