Kelowna mall gets highrise, but master site plan deferred
City council wants more information about operation of ice rink before adopting plan for redevelopment of Capri Centre Mall
He shoots, he . . . delays. A massive redevelopment plan for Kelowna’s Capri Centre Mall was unexpectedly put on ice Monday over the issue of public access to a proposed skating rink.
After several hours of discussion, councillors said they needed more specific information on who would own the NHL-sized rink and whether the public would be charged to use it.
“I just can’t seem to hear this afternoon what the operation of this facility will be, and whether the general public will have access to it or not,” said Coun. Luke Stack, who successfully proposed a deferral motion.
“There are lots of unanswered questions,” agreed Coun. Mohini Singh. “I’m not in a hurry to make a mistake. I make them naturally myself.”
The mall’s owners, ICR Projects, already have permission from the city to redevelop the site with 2,200 homes, in a combination of highrises, six-storey buildings and townhouses, and 200,000 square feet of new commercial premises.
The considerable density was granted by city council in 2016, in part because the mall’s owners promised to provide a skating rink as part of the comprehensive project.
On Monday, the mall’s owners brought forward a slightly revised plan in expectation of council’s approval. Changes included modifications to the road network and the en- largement of the planned ice skating rink.
Councillors generally liked the overall plan, describing it as attractive and wellthought-out, and saying it conforms to the city’s goal of increasing residential density in established areas.
“I endorse this master plan. I love it. I think it’s awesome,” said Mayor Colin Basran.
However, questions over exactly how the rink would operate dominated discussion, and councillors were not swayed by assurances from ICR Projects representative Leo Mariotto, who said, “Obviously we want the public to come and use the ice rink.”
Council unease over the specifics of the rink’s operation led to the deferral motion.
“This is a huge thing for us. I’m not sure why a few more weeks . . . I just think we need some better answers,” said Coun. Maxine De Hart.
Voting to defer adoption of the overall Capri master development plan were Stack, Singh, De Hart and councillors Ryan Donn, Tracy Gray and Charlie Hodge. Opposed were Basran and councillors Gail Given and Brad Sieben.
However, council did subsequently vote to approve the first highrise that will actually be built at Capri Centre Mall. It will be a 22storey tower, with 221 suites, on the southeast corner of the mall’s property.
The specific design of that building, council agreed, conforms to the original Capri redevelopment plan that was approved two years ago, and was unrelated to the skating rink issue.
“I feel this (building) matches something we approved before,” said Donn. “It does actually look fantastic.”
“I think it’s a beautiful building,” said Given.
Council has heard the full rebuild of the Capri site could take up to 20 years, depending on market conditions.
Kelowna city council on Monday approved this highrise proposed for Capri Centre Mall. It will be a 22-storey tower, with 221 suites, on the southeast corner of the property.