Homeless funding, Central Green, cherries on council agenda

Kelowna is hoping to impress the federal government with its Journey Home strategy for homelessness.

At its meeting today, council will be asked to OK 25,000 dollars to submit the program for the feds' Smart Cities challenge, which was announced last year.

That challenge was created for cities to work with local organizations and resources to solve local issues, and carries a prize of 50 million dollars for the municipality with the winning pitch.

It also has a couple of 10 million dollar secondary payouts.

Kelowna council will also decide if things like the water amalgamation plan, or the long-term growth management plan should be entered into the contest instead.

April 24 is the deadline for submissions, with finalists getting 250,000 dollars to build more detailed pitches.

The winner is to be announced in spring 2019.

City council is being asked to bid farewell to the idea of having highrise apartments on the Central Green site.

Last month, approval for a five storey apartment building was deferred by council, after it heard directly for the first time, that highrises weren't a viable option for the site.

Developer Al Stober also talked about soil conditions, which were described as not being feasible for a big and tall structure.

City staff say that while the buildings won't tower over the edge of downtown like originally thought, the site will still see 500 units built on it, which was what was originally planned.

As far as the building's design goes, council was lukewarm at best last month, describing it as underwhelming.

The 108-unit apartment is the second-last building to seek approval on the site.

Cherry growers based in Lake Country are looking to expand operations just south of town.

Coral Beach Farms currently operates a 30 square foot production facility, that it says will soon be too small for its operations.

With 6000-7000 tons of cherries coming in annually by 2021, Coral Beach is asking the city of Kelowna for permission to proceed with plans north of the airport, near Shanks Road off of Highway 97.

The 29 acres would house a new production facility, and dorms for 140 temporary farm workers.

Coral Beach typically brings in close to 900 seasonal workers each year.