Calling it a project that “pushes boundaries”, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran was the lone vote against Mission Group’s Aqua development Tuesday night.
Council voted in favour of the three tower complex at Lakeshore and Truswell roads on Okanagan Lake, approving a development variance permit for the revised lower heights of 12, 14 and 16 storeys.
“I applaud the developer for making changes to the original proposal and I believe this project brings a lot to the community,” Basran said prior to the vote.
But when it comes to the changes, Basran continued, “In my estimation, they don’t quite go far enough.”
“I wish it would have been scaled back just a little bit more,” the mayor said. “The massing of the buildings on this site is a bit too much.”
Council chambers were far from full, but numerous Kelowna residents attended and spoke both for and against Aqua’s proposed development, which includes a four storey boat storage facilty.
Those in favour believe the development will raise property values and add to the urban atmosphere in the neighbourhood.
High profile Kelowna resident Chuck Fipke, a geologist who earned wealth through massive diamond discoveries in Canada’s north and lives on Okanagan Lake next door to the development site, expressed concern about increased traffic congestion.
But Fipke seemed to believe council wouldn’t consider his concerns.
“I really don’t think anything I’m going to say is going to change the council’s mind,” Fipke said in addressing council. “They’re just going to ramrod it through.”
Aqua is a collection of townhouses and condos mixed with commercial and retail space.
“It is a bit shocking to me that councilor Hodge is voting in favour of a highrise project and I’m not going to vote with him to support it,” Mayor Basran mused before the final vote of approval by Kelowna City Council.