Long-awaited plan for Kelowna Tolko site includes 3,500 homes, parks, waterfront walkway
The long-awaited Tolko Mill Site Area Development Plan is going to Kelowna city council with three optional designs but many of the same key elements.
The concepts are described as balance, rhythm and emphasis, which refer to the focal points of each design.
But all three options will have a minimum of three to four hectares of parks and open space along with a publicly accessible waterfront walkway.
There are 3,500 homes proposed, including affordable housing. The plan also says there will be 350 “low impact uses," such as seniors’ residences and student housing.
Each option will include 225,000 sq. ft. of office/retail space and 950,000 sq. ft. of “undetermined flexible spaces.”
“The Mill Site aims to be a self-sustaining community, minimizing the necessity for residents to venture outside for their daily needs,” the plan document says. “Strategically located retail outlets, medical offices and essential services will be integrated into the community. This presents a unique opportunity for Kelowna to create a world-class, sustainable community.”
The mill was started by Stanley Simpson in 1931 but closed for good in 2019.
Some of the historical buildings have been retained when the rest of the site was cleared.
"The No. 5 Shed will be a destination from day one,” the plan says. “It will act as an integral point for the neighbourhood, providing a wide variety of opportunities for community gathering and participation."
The key design principle for Concept 1 is listed as “balance.”
“Three distinct open spaces tell the story of industry, culture, and ecology, each with a similar weight in terms of cultivating community and activation, but varying in experience and seasonal programming,” the plan says. “The three destination spaces imagined here are The Milling Place at the centre, The Workshop that acts as the landing pad for the moorage, and the social-ecological waterfront experience at Sutherland’s Soft Spot.
“North South connectivity along a distinct rail trail pedestrian and cycleway is bisected by the green street of Okanagan Avenue. In this concept, the upcycled Shed 5 and Loading Dock are envisioned as the heart of the community, serving as the main gathering spaces for the public.”
Each concept “encompasses a diverse range of housing options, including market condominiums, market rentals, below-market housing, senior living and specialty residential."
Rhythm is the theme for Concept 2.
“A diagonal, pedestrian-centred street operates as a connector between Rotary Marsh Park and two main open spaces: the Civic Wedge and Green Wedge,” the plan says. “This connector forms the baseline of a rhythmic urban experience where smaller parks and gathering areas such as neighbourhood pocket parks, play spaces, and central green spaces attract primarily resident use."
The theme of Concept 3 is emphasis, where the No. 5 Shed and Loading Dock are the focus that “scopes outward into a large, flexible green space and waterfront plaza that are lined with active maker spaces, breweries, shops and cafes. A floating spa and waterfront restaurant punctuate the water’s edge.”
Once city council reviews the plan it will go out for public input, including some sessions where it will presented along with a plan for the entire North End of downtown Kelowna.
To check out the Tolko Site Plan, go to this city web page and click on the Sept. 25 afternoon council meeting agenda.
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