KELOWNA - Kelowna city council’s switch in direction last week to allow more development in suburban areas couldn’t have come at a better time for Wilden developers.
Just one week after council backed off a December decision that would have essentially killed Phase 3 of the massive Wilden development, council has agreed today, March 11, to move a rezoning application to a public hearing to allow for 600 housing units, 45,000 square feet of commercial and office space and a school site.
In December, council agreed to limit growth outside city centres to 20 per cent of new housing. The development community, including Wilden, have been trying since December to persuade city council to move closer to 40 per cent. In the end, council opted for about 25 per cent of growth in the suburbs.
At the same time all the lobbying was going on, Wilden’s applications were working their way through City Hall.
“We would have still gone ahead with the rezoning on the Village, regardless,” Russ Foster, Wilden’s project manager and president told iNFOnews.ca. “Whether we would actually have moved forward with the project under the old growth scenario, probably not.”
Wilden now has almost 1,000 homes built in the Glenmore Highlands and had planned for a total of 2,800. The City had proposed cutting that by almost 1,000 before council backed off last week.
The 600 homes planned under the current rezoning application are actually a 20 per cent increase over what was originally planned for these lots, but as early as next week Foster expects another rezoning application to go to council cutting the number of units on a nearby property from 190 to about 60.
He expects rezoning of Phase 3 – with about 1,000 units – not to happen for another year as changes are needed to switch to more multi-family units on flatter land and fewer single-family homes on the hillsides. The full build-out of Wilden, he said, will likely take more than 20 years.
Work is also continuing on the extension of Begbie Road from Union Road in the highlands down to Glenmore Road. That road is half-built. Foster expects it to be paved in the summer, likely July, and open in the early fall.
“It will be a more direct route for all those folks in Wilden who are heading to the university or the airport or for the industrial area out there,” Foster said. “It was always in the plan since 2000 (when work started on planning the Wilden development).”
Initially, the City wanted the road to line up with a proposed Diamond Mountain development but that was killed by city council last year and the city has since bought the Diamond Mountain land as a buffer for the Glenmore Landfill.
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