THE 2040 OCP
The City of Kelowna is investing in two extremes: sprawl and tall.
On one hand, urban sprawl is occurring because the city is forcing families to move to the suburbs in order to find a home that has adequate square footage. As a result, our roadways experience heavier traffic and the desire for a more sustainable city is compromised.
On the other hand, the urban density focus seemingly would decrease urban sprawl and provide more affordable housing. But these options are typically too small for the average family and as a result, many smaller stratified units are then used for Airbnb or remain vacant.
The two extremes of sprawl and tall are clearly not the way forward. An alternative exists which demonstrates more advantages in affordability, infrastructure cost, environmental sustainability, traffic congestion, livability, and community wellness. Distributed density incorporates the ‘missing middle’. More human-scaled walkable areas. Population growth can be accommodated without tall or sprawl. Livability affordability and sustainability is possible with bold planning by cities. Policies and zoning can encourage this.
The Official Community Plan is an important document for the community and businesses to understand and participate in creating the vision for Kelowna. Defining the direction of development, has significant impacts on land economics, the distribution of different people and housing, and the urban fabric that impacts livability, the environment, and how and where people get around.
KLONA is generally supportive of the acknowledgment of the challenges that need to be addressed in the OCP, the need to do things differently, the need for greater involvement from the community particularly citizens in decision making and community building, and for the OCP to be a document that can be relied upon.
There is a lot of work to be done to transform these acknowledgements toward actions, many are outside of the scope of the OCP. The OCP however, is a foundational document and it is important that the OCP process, land use plans and implementation are consistent with community the goals and citizen engagement for the OCP vision to be realized.