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Westbank First Nation development predicted to take off

Westbank First Nation office.
February 14, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Development on Westbank First Nation land is expected to far outpace that of its closest neighbour in the years to come.

The number of homes on the Westside, which includes the WFN and West Kelowna,  is projected to increase by 4,556 units from 2018 to 2038, with 80 per cent of that development being on WFN land, according to a sewage report that went to the Central Okanagan Regional District this week.

The City of West Kelowna is expecting to see 934  units built, with 324 single detached and 610 multifamily units.

“The resulting amount of development is approximately 47 units per year over a 20-year period, or about 0.36% per year,” according to the report.

“While the figure will likely fluctuate significantly over the years, this volume of development should be possible given that the entire City of West Kelowna saw development of about 277 units per year over the last five-years.”

Westbank First Nation, in the same timeframe, is expecting to see 3,622 dwelling units built, with 372 single detached and 3,250 multifamily units. These numbers, according to the report, are based on units forecast by Westbank First Nation for individual development cells within the East Trunk catchment area as set out on Land Use Maps.

The subject area of Westbank First Nation currently has a total of 4,461 residential units.

“The growth of 3,622 units from 4,461 to 8,083 is an increase of approximately 3% per year over the 20-year projection period, which is less than the annual growth rate of 6.3% from 2011 to 2016, but is more comparable to the annualized growth rate of 3.6% over the 15-year period from 2001 to 2016, and is likely more reasonable over a 20-year period,” reads the report.

“This is also a rate of about 181 units per year over the 20-year period compared to about 236 units per year from 2011 to 2016.”

By 2038, WFN will have added more than 94,000 sq. m. of new commercial properties, while the City of West Kelowna commercial base will have increased by just 15,000 sq. m, the report predicts.

The changing dynamics will result in changes in costs related to the operation of the Westside sewage treatment plant, the report says.

Six years ago, about 74% of sewage flowing into the plant came from properties in West Kelowna. That has already declined to 70% and will drop further in the years ahead due "to the lower development activity relative to Westbank First Nations", reads part of the report.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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