Kelowna Costco One Step Closer to Relocation

costco relocating

The second and third readings to ammend the Official Community Plan and zoning for four properties on Baron and Leckie Roads has been carried, meaning Kelowna's Costco is one step closer to relocating. 

Kelowna Council made the decision during yesterday's first virtual public hearing, but a majority of public participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the plans. 

Build up, not out was the sentiment from a couple public participants. 

Jean-Claude Gavrel says if housing is required to be compact so should commercial spaces. "Stores like Ikea have been doing it for years and they are the cutting edge when it comes to value for money. And if the conclusion is reached that still more land is needed, then follow what other cities are doing and relocate Costco further from downtown."

Councillor Wooldridge echoed those comments before stating he would not be supporting the changes. "When we're hearing that other retailers are starting to gear away from grid parking yet we're paving another parking lot, it creates a lot of conflict for me. So, just in the bottom of my heart I can't support this moving forward, because I'm not confident that this is the right choice for that land use for the next 30 years."

So why can't Costco build up? Councillor Hodge - also against the move - posed that question.

VP and Regional Operations Manager with Costco Michael Thompson says it has to do with cost. "Very shortly after we started back in late '70s, early '80s our business, we put a maximum markup on any of the goods that we sell. So, with that it means that there's very minimal amount of markup and that also has an affect on how we run all parts of our business."

The proposed Costco location is for a 14.75 acre, four parcel property between Baron and Leckie Roads. 

The new warehouse is expected to be about 25 percent larger in size and include more parking. 

Mayor Colin Basran closed off statements before putting the matter to a vote saying he isn't supporting the change as easily as some may think. Moving his focus to the development permit stage, Basran says he'll be looking for a few things. "Firstly, I want to make sure that staff and the applicants come up with a good cycling and pedestrian experience. I also want to make sure that there are end of trip facilities potentially for the employees of that business to help facilitate alternate modes of transportation. And I'm also going to be looking for a strong landscaping plan."

The application now just needs final approval.