FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2018
Speculation Tax Discussion
Council discussed the newly-announced provincial Speculation Tax targeting foreign and domestic property owners in areas of BC, including West Kelowna. The City of West Kelowna requested the public submit their opinion on the tax to be included in a report to West Kelowna Council. The City received 239 submissions with only 19 supporting the tax. The vast majority of submissions disapproved indicating the tax would force them to sell their property, impact their retirement plans, damage the local economy and not improve rental availability or affordability. Council agreed to direct the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer to meet with the Premier of BC as soon as possible to discuss West Kelowna Council’s opposition to the tax.
Kelowna Rowing Club
Council directed staff to look for a suitable waterfront property to accommodate the Kelowna Rowing Club. The club had been operating for the past 10 years at the Green Bay Bible Camp and is no longer able to use the property. In 2015, staff had been directed to investigate a suitable location but one was not found. The Kelowna Rowing Club’s activities usually begin at 6 a.m. and occur six days a week. The club requires a waterfront location for a storage bin. Staff will bring recommendations to Council at an upcoming meeting.
Carrington Road Development
Council gave first and second readings to a Zoning Amendment Bylaw to allow apartments to exceed 40% of the gross floor area on the first story of a building to be built at 2301 and 2311 Carrington Road. The intent of the application is to permit the construction of a four-storey apartment building with 101 residential units. The application will now be scheduled for a public hearing at an upcoming Council meeting.
Council directed staff to bring forward the recommendations in the Social Issues Research Paper as part of Council Strategic Planning in 2019. The City hired a consultant to complete the paper as part of Council’s 2018 priority to address homelessness in the community. The report identifies and examines emerging social issues in the community which the City could assist with in terms of advocacy/support. The paper also examines the social services that are currently available to residents of West Kelowna. The top five of 28 themes indicated in the paper are:
- Barriers to accessing individual and family services
- Food security
- Housing affordability and accessibility
- Lack of mental health and substance use services in West Kelowna
The paper recommends the City advocate and support for:
- Increased individual and family supports
- A Regional Social Action Planning Strategy
- The establishment of a day/warming centre
- An increased visible crime reduction presence
The next steps staff will take include completing a Community Resource Guide to be shared with interested parties including the West Kelowna Partnership for a Health Downtown and partnering with Westbank First Nation on a point-in-time homelessness count which is anticipated to help secure funding from other levels of government.
Wine Trail Phase II
Council authorized the City to contract with Copcan Civil Ltd. to construct Phase II of the Wine Trail upgrade to Boucherie Road. Phase II encompasses Stuart Road to Ogden Road and involves construction of a new roadway with sidewalk, curb and gutter, retaining walls and landscaping as well as new storm and water mains. Roundabouts are planned for the intersections of Hudson Road and Anders Road. The construction contract is $7.33 million with the total project, including land acquisitions, utilities, geotechnical and contingency estimated at $8.75 million. The City will now establish construction phasing and strategies and a traffic management plan to minimize impact to homeowners and businesses. A communication plan will also be created and implemented to keep residents informed of construction impacts. Construction is expected to begin this spring with completion by end of November.
Flood Recovery & Preparedness
Council was provided an update on the City’s recovery efforts related to the 2017 flooding in the community. Several projects are either complete or underway including reconstruction of the Gellatly Waterfront Walkway, removal of sediment from the Powers Creek Water Treatment Plant Reservoir, removal of sediment from McDougall Creek, Smith Creek and Lower Powers Creek and various asphalt repairs and culvert cleanings. Council was advised that staff are working with provincial resources to prepare a local flood response plan for any future events.