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Successful EIZ program expands to Downtown Penticton

February 11, 2014 - 10:48 AM

PENTICTON — Construction value has exceeded $26 million within municipal boundaries since the City of Penticton first implemented Economic Investment Zones (EIZ) four years ago, and this figure is set to rise even more as the EIZ program focuses more on Downtown Penticton.

“The City of Penticton is committed to creating economic opportunity, and the EIZ program has shown incredible results to date,” said Mayor Garry Litke. “The value of construction underway is substantial and, most importantly, these local projects have created 130 new jobs in Penticton. That contributes significantly to Penticton’s economy.”

The City of Penticton passed the $26-million mark for construction value approved by the City under the EIZ Bylaw program established four years ago. Large-scale projects include the $18- million Regency Retirement Village on Skaha Lake Road and the $944,000 project to construct Bad Tattoo Craft Brewery on Estabrook Avenue. The return on investment includes construction jobs, permanent employment, expansion of existing businesses, increases to the future tax base and relocation of new businesses – and this links the EIZ program to 130 new jobs created in Penticton.

Revisions in 2011 increased the size of EIZ areas and added new areas and offered incentive categories for key land uses that were strategically identified as needed in Penticton. Looking to the future, an extension of the current program allows for additional work to be completed in the industrial and tourist areas, and gives time to allow for input as well as research best practices and next steps.

In the meantime, focus is on Downtown Penticton. The EIZ program is one piece to realizing the Downtown Plan, a long-term vision for the City's commercial core that outlines policy change, public space and streetscape improvements to kick-start economic activity in Downtown Penticton. The plan outlines several uses and amenities identified by residents as desirable during the planning consultation, and the EIZ program specifically targets those uses.

“When we asked the community what was missing in the downtown, they wanted more services and amenities that would contribute to a more vibrant and walkable downtown,” said Anthony Haddad, Director of Development Services. “The EIZ program will help make Downtown Penticton be a more attractive place to live, shop and socialize.”

The focus on the Downtown EIZ program is attracting uses identified by the community during the Downtown Plan public consultation held in 2012. Those included more residential development for multi-family, as well as a grocery store, cultural facilities, building facades, public amenities and heritage asset retention.

The program is focused on two key areas, Downtown Core and Downtown Periphery. Developments are eligible if a building permit is issued after Jan. 1, 2014 and have been issued an occupancy permit by Dec. 31, 2018.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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