West Kelowna, B.C., is currently the home to nearly 40,000 people and the city expects that number to grow substantially over the next two decades.
Staff are outlining how they can improve the housing supply to meet demand.
“We’re looking at somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 300 homes per year,” said Brent Magnan director of development approvals for the City of West Kelowna.
That is how many houses are needed to accommodate the growing population in West Kelowna, according to the official community plan.
The city is seeing an influx of people moving here, mainly from the Lower Mainland.
“We’re looking at somewhere between 14,000 people in the next 20 years to maybe even upwards of 18,000 people that we’re going to welcome into the community. We’re really just trying to provide the necessary growth and housing,” said Magnan.
The OCP is West Kelowna’s blueprint for how it should evolve its urban centres and neighbourhoods over the next two decades.
“Between 2021 and 2040, West Kelowna is projected to experience demand for approximately 5,383 additional dwelling units, or 299 new units per year,” read the report.
One of the challenges is having that property available for builders.
“We’ve tried to build some buffering in the plans, so that we just don’t assume that all properties will develop independently and on their own. So that we provide enough opportunity for development and that should some properties not develop, we still have enough properties that will,” Magnan said.
Another step in the OCP is identifying the city’s two urban centres, Westbank and Boucherie. To accommodate growth and demand for services, additional height allowances will be permitted for new developments.
“We’re going to be looking at additional density and heights that we haven’t seen in Westbank Centre before. On the periphery of the centre, probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of six-plus storeys. Getting into the heart of Westbank centre, 12 or even more,” added Magnan.
The OCP is in draft form and staff will conduct initial bylaw readings with city council in the coming weeks.
“What council’s asked us to do is embark on a housing strategy and that will sort of give us the information we need to identify how we’re going to fill the gaps in housing,” he said.
Although the public input sessions are over, public hearings will be held in the future where residents can provide feedback.
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