July 16, 2013 - 1:06 PM
KELOWNA - The expanded emergency ward for Kelowna General Hospital will soon need its own parking lot. Interior Health wants to create that parking on the same site where a 74-year-old heritage home currently sits at 434 Royal Avenue.
Yesterday, city council received Interior Health's application for a heritage alternation permit to demolish the house to make way for a surface parking lot directly opposite the emergency centre. The house is considered part of the Abbott Street Heritage Conservation Area and some area residents don't want to see the further expansion of the facility.
With Interior Health expecting a shortage of over 400 parking stalls through to 2025, the City will have to decide just how much of the heritage conservation area it wants to hand over. If granting this project, the city is concerned it could give way to further encroachment on the heritage area.
A review from the Community Heritage Committee expresses concern about the project, stating the proposal is, “fundamentally in conflict with the basic
principles of a heritage conservation area and in particular with the development guidelines for this Heritage Conservation Area.”
But Counc. Andre Blanleil says conflicting interests are to be expected when you have a major regional hospital in an area with residential homes.
"There's always going to be tension...you're never going to make anybody happy in this area," he says.
"Any time you're adding a huge amount of parking... it's always going to be a challenge," and something most hospital expansion projects likely encounter, he says.
The project will get a public hearing July 30 giving Interior Health the opportunity to present a comprehensive design of how the parking facility will fit into the surrounding neighborhood. Two other vacated properties at 458 and 442 Royal Avenue will also be used for the new parking lot.
Image Credit: City of Kelowna
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013