June 13, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA - Mayor Colin Basran says Kelowna is in a sweet spot right now and doesn't need to be afraid to say no to developers who don’t want to follow guidelines.
“I think we can be asking for a little bit more from developers,” Basran says. “I don’t want to approve development at all costs. I don’t want to just to do it the same as other sites in the city have in the past or for the sake of development. I can’t in my heart support this. I think we can do better.”
With that statement, Basran lead council to defeat an application by Coastal Hollypark Properties Ltd. seeking to construct two six-story hotels on a site at the corner of Highway 97 and Highway 33.
Planning staff had recommended against the project because the developer insisted on placing the buildings as far away from the highways as possible, with a “sea of parking” fronting on the busy intersection.
The developer cited noise and the comfort of guests plus exacting design standards from franchisor Marriott Hotels, which they say has already indicated that placing the hotels close to the highway would be a deal-breaker.
Coun. Brad Sieben disagreed with Basran, insisting the hotels would not get built unless council acceded to their noise concerns.
“This is private money flying an international flag with exacting standards. I think the design is good,” Sieben said. “This is not the keystone site to die on a hill for.”
Coun. Gail Given said the site will always be “auto-centric” given its location at the intersection of two provincial highways but it didn’t sway other councillors who fell in behind Basran to defeat the application for a form and character development permit.
Defeat of the application means the developer must revise the plan before appearing again before council.
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