City of Kelowna to Spend $107M on Parks over 10 Year Plan
Over the next 10 years, the City of Kelowna will be spending $107million to develop and improve Kelowna's parks.
The money will be funded partially through a newly approved cost charge incurred by developers in the City.
The program will include development of 17 neighbourhood parks across the city and improvements to all four recreational parks; Parkinson Recreational, Mission Recreational Park, Recreation Avenue Park, and Glenmore Recreational, which is currently under development.
With tens of thousands of people moving to Kelowna by 2040, the program is designed to match new growth.
Councillor Ryan Donn pointed out housing prices are going up in Kelowna and that the extra cost increase currently doesn't benefit the community, which he called a missed opportunity.
“The price will continue to rise in Kelowna. We have projections from staff that say a single family home by 2030 or 2035 will be over one million dollars. By the time it gets there, in my mind, it needs to include as part of it to ensure there's some community benefit,” said Donn.
He said the other side to cost of living is the quality of life and it is up to council to advocate for improvements.
Councillor Maxine Dehart spoke about the public’s frustration over procrastination of park development, stating their children will be grown up by time the parks are completed.
She added that free amenity space is a crucial aspect for new families moving to Kelowna.
“What things can you do with your family that are free nowadays? You have to pay for this, you have to pay for that. Whether you’re a family or a senior, everywhere we go we're opening up our pocket books. I think we need to provide free amenity space and that is our parks.”
The motion was approved in a 6-2 vote, with councillors Mohini Singh and Brad Sieben opposed.
Councillor Loyal Wooldridge voted in favor of the new fee.
He said the city is good at acquiring land but not so fast at developing it, due to a lack of funds.
“Is this going to affect affordability? That’s definitely an argument; it’s an additional $7,000. In the grand scheme of things that amortized over a mortgage term, I don't know if that argument circumvents the human benefit and the sustainability aspect of the city,” said Wooldridge.
In addition, the plan will include the completion of Rutland Centennial, Dehart, Gallagher’s and Casorso parks.
A motion will return to council for final reading in December for implementation January 1st.