More tweaks to planned
Kelowna’s long-awaited lakefront hotel, planned for the foot of Queensway adjacent to Kerry Park, will be slightly shorter than originally planned, have more hotel rooms and condominiums and see an increase to both the mount of parking included and the gross floor space.
But the date for the start of construction of the oft-delayed 33-storey hotel, to be built by Alberta-based developer Westcorp and operated by an as-of-yet unknown operator, is still not known.
In a news release, Westcorp said the latest tweaks to the hotel’s plan call for the number of hotel rooms to increase to 185 from 174, the number of condominiums to jump to between 50 and 60 and the number of parking stalls to increase to 331, up from the original 295.
West Kelowna residents
West Kelowna residents got an opportunity to express their concerns about the relocation of a fire station during a private meeting in early December.
The meeting, which was attended by more than 30 people, was organized by the City of West Kelowna to talk about a controversial decision to relocate the Olalla Road fire station to Lakeview Heights.
Several residents voiced their concern about the additional traffic and noise that would be created in their residential neighbourhood.
According to the city, the fire station on Olalla Road needs to be moved to Lakeview Heights because it has passed its life expectancy and is unable to accommodate the needs of the community of Westbank First Nation.
If approved, it will be built on two parcels of land at 2509 and 2515 Harmon Road.
Detailed design of the new fire station is expected to begin in 2020, but a timeline for its construction has not yet been determined.
City council approves
for West Kelowna
West Kelowna city councillors voted in favour to approve a temporary use permit for a winter shelter for people experiencing homelessness on Tuesday.
Located at 1160 Stevens Rd., the temporary shelter will only be allowed to operate until April 30 next year.
The shelter will be run by the West Kelowna Shelter Society and will be able to accommodate up to 40 people. Showers, toilets, storage and amenity space will be provided for residents.
An online petition against the shelter’s location received over 800 signatures.
Overdose deaths in
Kelowna has had the highest number of illicit drug overdoses across the Okanagan so for this year, however, the number of fatal overdoses was down by nearly 50 per cent compared to last year.
According to data from the BC Coroners Service, 27 people died from an overdose in Kelowna between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, down from 2018’s total of 55 deaths for the same period of time.
The number of deaths in Kelowna has been steadily decreasing since the overdose crisis in 2017 when the city recorded 73 fatalities.
Temporary wet housing
A temporary wet housing shelter will soon open in downtown Kelowna to help those who are living on the streets.
The new shelter will be located at 1265 Ellis St., near BNA Brewing Co., and is expected to open its doors in late December or early January.
The shelter will initially open with 20 beds with the possibility of expanding to 40 beds if needed.
Only people who are over 19 years of age will be allowed to stay at the shelter, which will be operated by a volunteer-based group called the Welcome Inn in partnership with BC Housing.
The organization hopes to keep the shelter open 24/7, but depending on staff availability the shelter may initially open only at night.
BC Housing confirmed there will be a designated area that will allow drug use, which will be monitored by staff.
“Due to the significant number of people in Kelowna who are experiencing homelessness and living outside, existing shelters are at or near capacity on a nightly basis,” stated a press release from the ministry of municipal affairs and housing.