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Video update: Council declares do-over on downtown redevelopment

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | 5:42 pm

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The fire hall at the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Water Street as of the summer.

Update: 3:24 p.m.

Council has voted to rescind second and third reading of the CD-21 Zone bylaw, opening it up to reconsideration and the ability for new councillors to receive new information. Couns. Michelle Rule, Charlie Hodge, Kevin Craig, Angela Reid and Robert Hobson voted to rescind. Couns. Graeme James, Andre Blanleil and Luke Stack voted to move ahead with fourth reading. The mayor did not speak to the motion.

Update: 3:16 p.m.

Coun. Hodge said he thinks there is a great deal of good in the plan. “I’m in no hurry to make a mistake here,” he said. “Let’s make our decision today to rescind this. It doesn’t have to take forever. We don’t have to throw the whole program out. Let’s do it.”

Update: 3:12 p.m.

Coun. James said he would support Coun. Blanleil’s suggestion to remove the hotel site. “But this picking at it, I believe will unravel the whole plan,” he said. “It’s a waste of time and it will take years to bring it back. Frankly, I had a lot of input. I spent a great deal of time on this and everyone had that opportunity. I spoke at the public hearing. I find this very upsetting that we’re going to unravel this.”

Update: 3:07 p.m.

Councillors are asking staff for clarification on procedural issues. Staff are consulting with each other about what can legally be discussed today. At this point, five councillors have said they support rescinding second and third reading and revisiting the issue, while three have said they do not support the motion from Coun. Michele Rule.

Update: 2:50 p.m.

Mayor Sharon Shepherd said she supports the motion to rescind second and third readings. “I now have more questions than I had at the time when I had to make the decision to support or not support it,” she said. “The park was the number one issue that I had. I’m hearing from council that at least three of the new councillors have other issues than the park. I feel we should go back, have the workshop and then move forward from there. I agree we’re not ever going to have a perfect agreement.”

Update: 2:38 p.m.

Coun. Kevin Craig said the plan has major sticking points for him, even though there is considerable common ground. “There’s lots about this plan I like, but it’s too big a sacrifice to make,” he said. “I will support this motion.”

Coun. Robert Hobson said it’s a tough issue for him because of his earlier support of downtown revitalization. “I’m very supportive of comprehensive development,” he said. Hobson said the big problem for him was using parkland for a hotel. “We spent a hundred years getting our waterfront back in Kelowna,” said Hobson. “I’m not prepared to give it away. I can’t see the logic of taking parkland and using it for a hotel.”

Hobson said the integrated aspect of the plan means changes aren’t easily made.

Update: 2:30 p.m.

Coun. Andre Blanleil said any more delays to the process would be frustrating and that all members of the public who wanted to speak have already had an opportunity. “My feeling this is a strategy not to deal with this today and then have a chance to manipulate the bylaw,” he said. “Either support or kill and move forward. This is a plan our staff worked immensely with developer. You can’t change height and density with totally changing the plan. There was so many good things with this plan. Certain pieces that no one wants and those can be fixed. This is not a plan that will take place tomorrow.”

Coun. Graeme James said he will not support the motion. “I don’t know how many open houses I went to on this one,” he said. “To turn all that back is a total waste of money. I just find if we start picking at it, the whole plan will unravel. The plan’s not perfect. I have questions too, but it’s a catalyst to revitalize our downtown.”

Coun. Charlie Hodge said there’s no question at all that council wants to revitalize downtown. “It’s a matter of how do we get there,” he said. “For the most part, there is some great parts to this plan. Since the election we haven’t discussed this at all. I wasn’t allowed to. It’s become very divisive. I think we have to do it with full community spirit. This motion allows us to go back refocus and then move ahead in a positive manner.”

Update: 2:21 p.m.

Coun. Michelle Rule has moved to rescind second and third reading of CD-21 Zone bylaw so as to allow new councillors to receive new information. City Clerk Stephen Fleming said this would not violate procedure. The motion is seconded by Coun. Charlie Hodge.

“The sky isn’t going to fall if we don’t adopt this zone today,” said Rule, in speaking to the motion. Coun. Angela Reid said she would support the motion, although she said she supports some of the principles behind it. “It’s been under development for five years now and a lot has changed,” she said. “We had a different council when this was first proposed. I do want to see a comprehensive development for downtown…however don’t think I would be doing my job if I accepted this in its current state.”

Coun. Luke Stack says he doesn’t support the motion. Stack said everyone who wanted an opportunity to speak, has had so. “Everyone in the community who has an opinion has been given an opportunity to say it” he said. “It disappoints me to think this could go back to first reading. It’s not unusual for us to have a bylaw pass and then come back to us with an amendment.” Stack said the extensive work and cost put into this means he would rather vote on it today. “This is a credible plan to help us deal with the lack of development on Leon and Lawrence.”

Update: 2:11 p.m.

Mayor Sharon Shepherd commended council’s newest members for their patience in dealing with the CD-21 Zone. She acknowledged the difficulty for new councillors to make an informed decision on a difficult subject without receiving new information or being allowed to ask questions of staff.

By John McDonald

City councillors will be considering the controversial CD-21 zone proposal. The plan would see four downtown blocks developed under a master plan over a 20-year period. Proponents of the plan say it will revitalize the downtown core. Critics say the plan hands a big part of downtown to developers and focuses on high-rises, some as high as 27 stories.

Stay tuned for updates.

Video update: Council declares do-over on downtown redevelopment3.357

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8 Responses to “Video update: Council declares do-over on downtown redevelopment”

  1. Junior Adams says:
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    It’s going to take 20 years to break ground on a 20 year redevelopment plan… I just shake my head.

  2. Buzzard says:
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    Since when did dithering become an effective form of leadership?

  3. Phil says:
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    You gotta be kidding… I’d use some expletives here but that most likely would get this post blocked. This is ridiculous!
    Get ONE or TWO Developers good ones in there then a few urban planners (preferably not from Vancouver) and have them take what we have and create a desirable downtown. How the hell can this be so difficult? What in your minds makes you think that spending more money on what we (the people) already agree is a good thing makes it even more worth it!

    I am all for making sure everything is correct but there is such a thing as over-thinking things. Sorry but by the time this will ever be properly handled I and most current 20-40 year old’s will be dead or have left this city as common sense seems to have left us a long time ago.

    How fast can we get this council voted out?? I think NOW is seriously the time for all of us “citizens” to get of our a__es and get the ball moving if the council that we elected can’t do what we wanted to happen 2 years ago then they simply are incapable of the job!

    Enough is ENOUGH. This town as beautiful as it once was is going down the drain, people with ideas leave as this “TOWN” can’t get over the fact that with all the rampant development we turned into a “CITY” and now need THAT particular infrastructure and consolidation of housing and the city center.

    To play blind and think that we are just a little tourist town is just plain naive, we need infrastructure, easy living, normal housing and most of all a somewhat organized city center where people want to live spend their money and work… Funny how that works isn’t it?

    City Center = Housing in the Core = Jobs in the Core = less driving on the roads = Entertainment in the Core = consolidated living and less urban sprawl! Get your ACT TOGETHER Council!

    And here is a small question I have to ask and others should too… What council members have interests other than those of the public vested into the downtown core, this much indecision and screwing around makes me wonder who may have personal interests involved here.

  4. robski says:
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    My guess is that some people are scrambling to somehow get their hands in the cookie jar – and they need more time and input in order to get their pet projects into the plan. It would be nice if SOME DAY we could see SOME level of government actually accomplish something of significance.

  5. Geoff says:
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    One giant step backwards. Inaction is not a plan.

  6. HARD TO IMAGINE says:
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    The extent of the arrogance of these politicians. Couns. Michelle Rule, Charlie Hodge, Kevin Craig, Angela Reid, Robert Hobson and our wimpy Mayor must not be re-elected since they have placed more importance on their own political capital than a broken economic engine of their own community. They should be shamed right out of their offices.

  7. Dave says:
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    As a 35 year old member of this community, I am so frustrated. Council – hold an election tomorrow and see what happens. We need new and younger people in office that get it. You need to start listening…

  8. Danya says:
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    This is just stupid… this place is growing out, now it needs to grow up… it been like this for to long we need some change…. Jobs, housing, entertainment… there are young people that live in kelownatoo. and nothing to entertain them… hence the youth crime that goes on… council DOES need to start listening…. its not only you guys that live here… i havnt talked to anyone that is happy you arnt doing this… common people…

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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