Kelowna Council Rejects Early Consideration for McKinley Beach Expansion

Kelowna Council Rejects Early Consideration for McKinley Beach Expansion
July 11, 2024

Kelowna City Council has thrown cold water on plans for a significant expansion of McKinley Beach. On Monday, the council voted unanimously against granting early consideration for a development proposal encompassing a vast area outside the city's established growth boundary.

The proposal, presented by an unnamed developer, envisioned a substantial development on 671 acres of land. This ambitious plan included the construction of 2,000 new residential units alongside a mixed-use urban village.

Early Consideration

The concept of "early consideration" exists to streamline the development process for complex projects. By granting early consideration, the council allows developers to gauge their initial interest before significant resources are invested in environmental assessments, traffic studies, and other detailed planning documents.

Aligning with the Official Community Plan (OCP)

While city staff acknowledged the proposal's potential benefits, including the addition of much-needed housing and new amenities, a major sticking point emerged: the project's misalignment with Kelowna's Official Community Plan (OCP).

Adopted in 2022, the OCP serves as a blueprint for Kelowna's future growth. It outlines designated areas for development, aiming to promote sustainable and efficient urban expansion. The McKinley Beach proposal, situated beyond the city's designated growth boundary, directly contradicted these core OCP principles.

Council Members Voice Concerns

Several council members expressed their reservations regarding the proposal's incompatibility with the recently established OCP. Councilor Luke Stack, who participated in rejecting a similar application three years ago, emphasized the importance of adhering to the current OCP's direction. Stack argued for focusing development efforts within designated areas and allowing the ongoing North Glenmore Growth Study to inform future decisions concerning the McKinley Beach area.

North Glenmore Growth Study

The North Glenmore Growth Study represents a crucial initiative currently undertaken by the city. This study aims to address future development pressures in the region surrounding McKinley Beach, including the Gateway area, Kelowna International Airport, the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), and anticipated growth in neighboring Lake Country.

The city's planning director, Ryan Smith, suggested that the McKinley Beach proposal could potentially contribute to the North Glenmore Growth Study's objectives. He envisioned the project enhancing the McKinley Beach neighborhood's functionality and convenience while providing additional housing options and potentially establishing a connection to Highway 97.

Council Rejects Early Consideration

Despite Smith's arguments, the council remained unconvinced. Councilor Ron Cannan echoed Stack's concerns, stating that moving forward with the proposal at this stage would be premature and misuse valuable staff resources. Councilor Mohini Singh expressed a desire for more time to consider the application alongside the completion of the North Glenmore Growth Study, emphasizing the need for sound decision-making based on comprehensive data.

The council's unanimous vote against early consideration signifies the proposal's unlikely path forward. With the application likely to be shelved, the future of McKinley Beach development hinges on the findings of the North Glenmore Growth Study and the city's commitment to its established OCP.

Additional Considerations

While the council's decision marks the end of this specific proposal, it highlights the ongoing debate surrounding Kelowna's growth strategy. Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Housing Affordability: Kelowna faces a significant housing affordability challenge. The rejected proposal's potential to add 2,000 new residential units could have impacted housing availability.
  • Environmental Impact: Development outside designated growth boundaries often raises concerns about environmental impact on surrounding ecosystems. The specific details of the proposal regarding environmental considerations were not publicly available.
  • Public Input: The public's voice plays a crucial role in shaping development decisions. It's unclear if there were opportunities for public input regarding the McKinley Beach proposal.


The Kelowna City Council's decision to reject early consideration for the McKinley Beach expansion highlights the importance of adhering to established development plans. As Kelowna grapples with growth pressures and housing needs, the North Glenmore Growth Study presents a valuable opportunity to chart a sustainable and well-planned course for the city's future.

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