Council keeping parking requirement for building beside arena

Kelowna council is keeping parking standards in place for a downtown developer, which staff say are outdated.

R.G Properties is the developer behind Prospera Place, who's planning to add a 14-storey residence at the northeast corner of the arena, which is currently a gravel parking lot.

But nearby developments are zoned differently, and also require less parking stalls, which has lead to a discrepancy with what's expected of RG's development.

The result of council's vote means that RG will need to provide the same number of stalls as originally negotiated, nearly 20 years ago.

Those numbers are one stall per bachelor, 1.25 stalls per 1-bedroom, 1.5 stalls per 2-bedroom, and 2 stalls per 3-or-more-bedroom units.

The parking reduction would have seen the requirement reduced to one stall per unit, regardless of how many bedrooms it has.

Councillor Luke Stack says even though nearby buildings that are zoned differently don't need as much parking, this is a unique property.

"The people that negotiated with us accepted the terms and conditions, and so did we. I actually think having a higher parking ratio is an important component, because if they do put some sort of housing on here, we still need parking in the vicinity for events. So I don't want to take it to the lowest common denominator on parking," he said.

Councillor Tracy Gray says there's no question people who end up living there will need to drive.

"Putting a three-bedroom unit with only one car? This is not Vancouver. We don't have SkyTrains right outside our door. We can imagine that in the future, but that is a long way off," she said.

"And there's virtually no street parking around there, there's no grocery stores in walking distance, there's not even a convenience store if you had to go and get milk. People will still be needing some type of a vehicle."

Councillor Gail Given agreed, saying that if the project is allowed to continue with scaled back parking requirements, people living in the area will pay the price.

"I would suggest R.G. (Properties) won't have the parking concerns, it will be every neighbour that lives in the area, which already has those concerns. So, really worried about absolutely compounding the problem."

She says an even bigger concern would be if RG decides to build on top of Prospera's main parking lot off of Water Street, which the company also owns.

The city will assume control of the arena in 2030.