December 30, 2013 - 8:29 AM
KELOWNA - For the past decade, Kelowna has been one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada. There is no denying that the City of Kelowna is on the grow and 2013 saw numerous large projects approved, completed and in several cases, denied.
A new stretch of highway opened to the public on August 16 after more than a year of construction. In a ceremony attended by MLA’s and other local dignitaries, the $78-million section of Highway 97 that diverts traffic around a deadly stretch of road known as the Pelmewash Parkway, saw its first public motorist cruise along the pristine blacktop.
City Councillors approved the construction of Westcorp’s new $150-million development at the site of the Hiawatha RV Park back in March. Councillor Robert Hobson said the project's proposed restoration around Wilson Creek would help showcase “a great asset” and would bring boutique shops and hotels to the popular South Pandosy area. The case was not without controversy, however, as many residents expressed their disapproval with the way the buyout was handled.
Construction finally resumed on the financially-embattled SOPA Square on Pandosy Street in May. Three years after construction began, the $300-million retail location saw work resume after waking up from a debt-fueled coma. Numerous construction delays postponed completion of the 11-storey residential-commercial building, which includes 87 housing units, 20 office and retail units, and an underground parkade.
A massive, 1,400-unit North Glenmore development felt the heat when Troika Developments pitched the idea to Council. The Diamond Mountain project was approved for fewer than 500 units, but developers hoped for more far more. Councillors refused to grant a public consultation pending amended area plans and the project has since stalled out.
The Provincial government announced in August that the former site of Kelowna Secondary School will be developed to house low- and middle-income residents. After sitting vacant for years, it is also hoped that the project will include a large urban area as well as a five-acre green space.
Two new towers in the downtown core got the green light from city councillors in April. Plans for the Monaco Towers, which will sit on the corner of Doyle Ave. and St. Paul St., were twice rejected by council because of their size and height.
Bernard Ave. got a facelift over the summer. Work was interrupted in September by the FortisBC labour dispute however, the third phase of the $14-million revitalization project on Kelowna’s main street began on Sept. 3 as scheduled. Only the area from St. Paul to Ellis streets is yet to be completed.
The most recent, and arguably most ambitious, Kelowna development was announced early December by Kelowna Mountain developer Mark Consiglio. After the B.C. Securities Commission froze trading of its Limited Partnership units in August for lack of disclosure, the controversial owner announced plans for a $100-million Wine Park complete with canals, promenade and “architecturally unique” greenhouses.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013