Plans for what is being called ‘one of the most significant developments ever proposed’ for the City of Penticton are one step closer to becoming reality.
On Tuesday, council unanimously approved an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment for the 10-acre property at 1704 Government Street.
“I was talking to some council members this morning. It’s one of those almost perfect public hearings where in their minds they were going backwards and forwards all through the hearing as to whether you know, to be for or against, which is the perfect scenario for a public hearing,” said Mayor of Penticton Julius Bloomfield.
“In the end, it was a unanimous decision voting for the revisions to the OCP. But I think it was a really thorough process and council was very satisfied with the outcome.”
The industrial-zoned site will now move forward under a mixed-use designation for housing, retail, and office development.
According to the developer, there were around 1,000 people who were involved in the engagement process, and 75 per cent of the community the project or supported it with some conditions that the developers are working on.
“It was very encouraging and kind of reinforced the fact that we’re on the right track with the vision. And the vision ultimately is to redevelop this 10 acres in phases into a lot of much-needed housing, some medical office space, and retail for the community,” said Stryke Group managing director Rocky Sethi.
- Brian Mulroney remembered as prime minister who understood Alberta interests
- 2 years in, has the Bank of Canada’s historic rate hike campaign done the job?
- Canada’s car thefts show no signs of slowing. What costs can owners face?
- IVF, fertility help costs are rising. For many that means ‘reconsidering’
“City council has not been a pushover, but they’ve been very thoughtful in their approach. They asked a lot of really important questions last night; I think they liked what they heard. And then the community at large has been very supportive.”
The project, which is tentatively called the Penticton Health and Innovation District, was brought forward by two Richmond developers, Stryke Group and Tien Sher Group of Companies.
They’ve proposed 11 buildings between six and 12 storeys high, meaning up to 1,500 residential homes, plus office and retail space with the opportunity to create over 300 jobs, across from Penticton Regional Hospital.
“(The) hospital serves a very large region and we’re happy to be able to kind of add on to it by providing both office space that’s outside of the hospital and then also a lot of housing for people that are either working at the hospital, perhaps visiting the hospital,” said Sethi.
“There’ll be lots and there’s an opportunity on site to create aged care, so independent living for seniors living on site.”
Mayor Bloomfield added that he believes once the project is completed, the benefits could be far-reaching in different sectors.
“There’s probably going to be a high medical slant to the businesses that go in and the use of the office spaces extra, fulfill some of the needs for more space for medical offices,” said Bloomfield.
“But also, the housing aspect as well, it’s a mid-range project and is going to be mid-range housing and I think that’s much needed in the city.”
The amendment is just one step forward in the project’s approval process as there are further requirements for public engagement.
“We’re in the process for rezoning as well. There’ll be a public engagement as part of that as well, and then development permits. So, there’s still a few months ahead of hard work and coordination with the city. There are additional opportunities for the public to have feedback,” said Sethi.
“It’s now largely in technical question, so we’ll be working on design and things like that as we move forward in the next few months.”
Plans are still in the early stages, but the developers say they hope to get started as soon as possible as the full build-out will take 10 to 12 years.