Kelowna Growth Surpasses Projections: Certain Areas Hit 2040 Targets Early

Kelowna Growth Surpasses Projections: Certain Areas Hit 2040 Targets Early
May 2, 2024

Kelowna's development is outpacing projections, with some neighbourhoods reaching housing growth targets set for the next 16 years, according to a city report.

The report, going before city council next week, highlights a surge in new construction concentrated in established areas. While suburban development appears to be slowing, zones like Pandosy and Midtown (around Orchard Park Mall) are nearing or exceeding their 2040 growth projections.

"This rapid pace is consistent with the city's overall growth in recent years," municipal planners wrote, attributing it to the implementation of the 2021 Official Community Plan (OCP).

Highlights from the Report

  • Pandosy and Midtown Boom: The OCP anticipated 1,000 new residential units in Pandosy (around Pandosy Street and KLO Road). Remarkably, approvals have reached 1,300 units, though occupancy remains low.  Midtown's story is similar – exceeding forecasts with 717 approved units (mostly near Springfield and Benvoulin) compared to the projected 1,100.
  • Shifting Gears: Transit and Cars  The report sheds light on interesting post-pandemic trends.  Fuel sales data suggests a significant rise in public transit use. Per capita fuel sales haven't reached 2007 levels, despite total sales rising slightly. This coincides with a dip in car ownership – Kelowna went from 0.5 vehicles per capita (one car for every two residents) in 2021 to 0.47 currently.
  • Office Market Strength:  Adding to the positive outlook, Kelowna boasts a low office vacancy rate of 6.6%, down from nearly 12% in 2017. This stands out compared to other major Canadian cities with significantly higher vacancy rates.

Looking Ahead

The report paints a picture of a thriving Kelowna, exceeding expectations in residential development, potentially leaning towards public transit, and boasting a healthy office market. While some areas see a development surge, Capri-Landmark, with an ambitious target of 3,700 new units by 2040, has yet to see significant progress.

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