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Future of former mill site in Kelowna’s north end still up in the air

Click to play video: 'Future of former mill site in Kelowna’s north end still up in the air' Future of former mill site in Kelowna’s north end still up in the air
Future of former mill site in Kelowna’s north end still up in the air – Feb 26, 2021

It’s been more than a year since Tolko Industries shuttered its Kelowna operations.

But just what exactly will happen with the 16-hectare, waterfront site remains one of the city’s biggest speculative real-estate questions.

Last year, in a report from the MCL Real Estate group, B.C. Assessment put the value of the Tolko property at $19.1 million.

However, MCL put the value of the property at $48 million.

And now that demand for residential towers is sky-high, the lot could be worth considerably more.

That’s why Tolko has been dismantling the former mill piece by piece.

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“A couple of the buildings have been decommissioned; the logs that were stored on site have been moved out,” Tolko communications advisor Chris Downey told Global News.

“Some of the equipment has sent to other parts of the company, and they’re really just looking at what the next steps might be for the site.”

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Indefinite shutdown at Kelowna lumber mill to become permanent: Tolko Industries – Nov 8, 2019

Tolko is holding its cards close to the chest when it comes to the site’s future.

“Obviously a lot of planning behind the scenes, but nothing that has been announced so far,” Downey told Global News.

In the meantime, the reclamation work continues.

One Kelowna resident, Dave Hanam, said he likes “to observe what’s taking place down here when I come by.”

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Tolko mill workers forced to make tough decisions in wake of indefinite mill shutdown in Kelowna – Oct 15, 2019

Hanam says he walks by the site nearly every day and is astounded by the change.

“It’s amazing how the destruction has taken place and how so many buildings have been demolished,” Hanam chuckled.

Like almost everyone else, Hanam wonders what the site’s future will hold.

“I’m sure there is going to be a big development,” Hanam said.

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“The future doesn’t look good,” no signs of the Tolko mill in Kelowna getting up and running anytime soon – Oct 10, 2019

As for what exactly it might be Hanam has no idea: “Who knows?”

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However, Hanam does know what he’d like to see happen to the site.

“I’d like to see a nice boardwalk, bicycle trails, walking trails, place for maybe the kids can play and big development, high rises.”

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Tolko cuts shift in Kelowna as forestry sector struggles – May 28, 2019

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has heard that before.

“He’s [Hanmam] certainly ticked a lot of the boxes in terms of things we have heard from residents,” said Basran.

Still, the mayor is quick to point out that while the site is incredibly important to the city’s future waterfront landscape, that future isn’t quite here.

“Unfortunately,” said Basran, “it’s just a bit too early to delve into what that site is going to look like.”

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