It's been two years since the Tolko mill closed, causing speculation of the future of Kelowna's North End neighbourhood. (Black Press file photo)

City of Kelowna authorizes start of North End planning process

The plan aims to provide clear guidance for development and changes to the North End neighbourhood

A motion to authorize a planning process for Kelowna’s North End was carried during a city council meeting on Monday, July 12.

The North End Plan was proposed to provide guidance for developments and changes to the North End neighbourhood in Canada, which spans from Knox Mountain to Clement Avenue. The neighbourhood is facing a lot of pressure to change, according to the City’s report on the plan. The report also says that the plan is the start of a process to shape the neighbourhood into an area with public spaces, infrastructure networks and amenities.

“If we don’t have our plan in place before the mill site plan comes forward, then we would have lost our opportunity to shape the area and to include the voices of stakeholders,” said Coun. Gail Given.

The plan comes after much speculation of the neighbourhood’s future since the Tolko mill closed in 2019. Since then, the nearby BC Tree Fruits site has been listed for sale.

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The Kelowna Downtown Knox Mountain Neighbourhood Association expressed its support of the in a statement on its Facebook page. The association also stressed the importance of the plan in the neighbourhood and urged the City to continue to consult community voices during the process.

“We want a plan that takes into account the desires and needs of the people who live and work in the area every day,” said the association in a statement.

City staff also promised to include Indigenous voices, culture and community members in the plan. Indigenous cultural significance and usage of the area will be explored in detail during the process, wrote city staff in the report that was presented at Monday’s meeting.

The North End Plan is planned to take place over four phases and over 18 months, city staff wrote in a report. Staff will oversee the development of the neighbourhood plan with a budget of $465,000.

“I think this will be absolutely fantastic. I’m sure that access to the waterfront, great public parks and amenities will be front and center with the plan. I’m really excited for those opportunities for our community,” said Colin Basran at Monday’s meeting.

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