Future of iconic downtown buildings in question as city considers civic area's future
By John McDonald
The soon-to-be-vacated Interior Health Authority building on Ellis St. is mentioned as being under transition in the new civic block land use plan.
(JOHN MCDONALD / iNFOnews.ca)
March 16, 2015 - 2:52 PM
KELOWNA - It’s time to focus on the 10,000-foot view of Kelowna’s civic area and how residents see it developing over time - that’s the thrust of a report city councillors will consider Monday.
“The city owns a large majority of the land within the study area,” said Ross Soward, a planning specialist with the city and author of the report. “It is critical for us to understand what are the land use goals for the area, what are the priorities, so we are in a position to be proactive.”
He is seeking council approval to initiate the so-called civic block land use plan and begin an 18-month, multi-faceted community consultation process they hope will provide a clear direction for city planners.
“It’s important to recognize this is a land use planning exercise, not a detailed facility planning exercise,” he said.
Three properties in the report, all on Doyle Street, receive special attention; the soon to be vacated RCMP station plus the Kelowna Community Theatre and the Memorial Arena, both of which are described as "approaching the end of their optimal lifespan." The Interior Health Authority building on Ellis, a much newer building than the others, is mentioned as being under transition, with staff moving to an expanded facility in 2017.
“There is a need to understand in the long term what does the city see as the best uses for those sites,” Soward said, who refuses to speculate about their future. “It may be those sites have a similar use. Staff do not want to presuppose in the coming months what those uses will be.”
Focus for the study will be area bounded by Queensway Avenue Water Street, Clement Avenue and the alley between Ellis Street and St. Paul.
The site encompasses 21.3 acres of land owned by the city on which lie 11 civic buildings with another four under development. Four primary public spaces, Kasugai Gardens, Bennett, Plaza, Art Walk and the Arts Common are also within the site.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015