KELOWNA – Westcorp will seek permission from Council Monday to build a 24-storey hotel on Queensway Avenue.
The hotel, which would include more than 200 rooms, a conference centre, retail stores and a restaurant, would be five storey’s taller than the current zoning allows.
According to a report prepared by city staff, Westcorp is seeking the amendments and rezoning in order to include enough rooms to make the development viable economically.
The proposal seeks to amend the OCP by changing the designation of part of Mill Street and Queensway Avenue from major park and open space to mixed use residential/commercial.
“Urban Planning staff are supportive of the proposed Rezoning and OCP amendment application to facilitate the development of a signature hotel tower and supporting uses on the subject property,” reads the report. “Both the OCP and the Downtown Plan support tower development on the site as part of a broader effort to encourage densification and increased activity in Kelowna’s downtown. The policy direction provided in these documents supports development of up to 19 storeys in the form of a signature building with a high quality of design.”
Among the topics of discussion, Council will hear how the development will affect nearby Kerry Park.
“The shadowing from the proposed development has an effect on the adjacent parkland. The impact of the shadowing is worsened by the additional five (5) storeys of height requested by the applicant. Staff is working with the applicant team to provide mitigation for these impacts through improvements to Kerry Park.”
Westcorp has also requested that a portion of Queensway Avenue and the majority of Mill St. be closed and consolidated. According to the application, the roadways are needed for parking, which due to the high water table in the area, cannot be incorporated underground.
The developer has stated they would be willing to compensate the City at a rate based on current market values.
In an effort to gauge public opinion on the development, Westcorp held a public information session in which 129 surveys were gathered. According to Westcorp, there were 13 negative responses submitted, focused primarily on form and character of the proposal. Increased activity brought by the project was also noted, as was concerns about height, proximity to the lake and socio-economic accessibility.
In a form submitted by Westcorp, the author writes, “With the Kelowna Yacht Club already under construction and the final phase of Stuart Park soon to follow, the proposed hotel represents one of the final pieces of the puzzle in revitalization of the downtown waterfront. The iconic hotel will provide a key connection point along the waterfront – from the wetlands of Brandt’s Creek in the north to City Park on the south. This project will also be a significant catalyst for further development in Kelowna’s downtown. The site provides the perfect location to achieve a vibrant downtown waterfront hotel, a use that is highly desirable in the downtown core and with limited opportunities in Kelowna to enjoy a meal while viewing the lake, the new hospitality uses will be welcomed by both residents and visitors.”
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