Perpetual parking pinch part of Kelowna General Hospital land deal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Perpetual parking pinch part of Kelowna General Hospital land deal

A recent land deal will add 28 parking stalls to the area around Kelowna General Hospital.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE

KELOWNA - Don’t expect much neighbourhood opposition next week during a public hearing about a land deal at Kelowna General Hospital between the City of Kelowna and the Interior Health Authority.

Council has already given first reading to future land use amendments and rezoning of a pair of properties on Abbott Street and Speer Street that will allow the construction of JoAnna’s House as well as a 90-stall surface parking lot.

JoAnna’s House will offer low-cost accommodation to families of patients receiving treatment at Kelowna General Hospital next door. However, its construction will also take out 62 parking stalls.

The net result is 28 extra parking stalls in an area where parking is at a premium and where managing demand is a must.

“Certainly the interface with the hospital has always been a challenge,” community planning manager Ryan Smith says, with the neighbourhood around it both a source of complaints and the target of constant enforcement.

Interior Health Authority real estate services manager Doug Levell said the tertiary hospital — the Interior’s largest — is coming off a long construction phase and there are no current plans for providing more parking, though they are well aware of the need.

The hospital more than meets zoning requirements, Levell points out, providing over 1,100 parking spaces while only required to provide 400, even after the recent expansion.

Instead, the health authority is trying to manage demand by reducing staff trips, although Levell acknowledged a third parkade must eventually be considered.

Levell said the hospital is in a challenging spot for future development, not because of the residential neighbourhood around it, but the limited road network that leads to it, which makes it hard for emergency vehicles to access.

The public hearing begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28 in Kelowna council chambers.

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