Kelowna mall gets high­rise, but master site plan de­ferred

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By RON SEY­MOUR

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.

Artist’s ren­der­ing

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.

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