A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)

A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)

Kelowna council approves rezoning for contentious Costco relocation

Despite feedback from residents, council gave Costco the green light on Tuesday evening

Despite critical feedback from residents, Kelowna city council has decided to move the proposed Costco relocation forward.

After nearly two-and-a-half hours of presentations, public input and deliberation, council approved an OCP amendment and rezoning application on Tuesday evening (Jan. 12) that will allow the big box store to move to the corner of Leckie, Baron and Springfield roads. The new location is 770 metres away from Costco’s current location along highways 33 and 97 but will allow for more parking, a larger warehouse and a gas bar. Councillors Loyal Wooldridge and Charlie Hodge were the lone votes against the rezoning as council passed the items by a 7–2 vote.

READ MORE: Kelowna implements revised public hearing protocols

READ MORE: Kelowna’s 2040 Official Community Plan nears completion

The primary concerns expressed by residents during the public hearing were traffic-related — as they have been since Costco announced its intentions for the site in 2019.

The area is abutted by several residential complexes — townhouses, apartment buildings and seniors homes — the residents of which say an already busy traffic situation in the area will only be exacerbated by the introduction of a Costco.

Council ultimately decided Costco had made a sufficient effort to remedy potential issues, with plans to invest around $2.5 million to partially fund upgrades for neighbouring roads. Those upgrades will include new turning lanes onto Leckie Road off Highway 97 and Springfield Road, widening Leckie to have four through lanes and one middle turning lane, and the implementation of a signalized intersection at Leckie and Parkview Crescent, among other improvements. Council was particularly excited by plans for a multi-use corridor along Leckie Road, improving cyclist and pedestrian access in the area, which was another concern expressed by residents.

“Although Costco and staff have worked hard to improve traffic flow, I still think it’s going to be a bit of a nightmare in that particular location,” said Coun. Charlie Hodge, adding the location is prime land for a different kind of development.

“You don’t find much land that large in our city anymore… This is not the best use of that land in a community that is rapidly running out of land for housing.”

Through the course of the public hearing, residents suggested more suitable locations for a new Costco, pointing north to a previously-discussed location near the airport. However, the location of developments is out of council’s hands.

“As councillors, you don’t get to choose what comes to council; you get to choose how you vote when it comes to council,” said Coun. Ryan Donn.

As the city continues to vie for more densification and overall compactness throughout the city in a residential context, resident Jean-Claude Gavrel suggested commercial developments need to be held to the same requirements. He said council needs to ask whether Costco needs more land or more space. Costco has maintained throughout the proceedings with the city that building either a parkade or a second floor to decrease the store’s footprint is not feasible.

“The current trend in urban development throughout the world is more compactness… If you’re going to apply compactness to residential you need to apply compactness to commercial as well,” Gavrel said, citing Ikea as a warehouse-style store that has successfully built “upwards instead of outwards.”

Those comments echoed with Mayor Colin Basran, who has long championed densification in the city, specifically within urban cores. But he also said the city needs balance within those core areas.

“Sprawl isn’t just residential, it’s also commercial,” he said, adding that moving the project to the outskirts of town would have been “just as detrimental” in different ways.

Basran maintained the growth lost by building a Costco instead of more residential units could be accommodated in other areas, both nearby and in other town centres.

The developers expressed an intention to have the new store open by Fall 2021, but shovels won’t hit the ground quite yet. Costco will now need to apply for a development permit, which will require council to take one more look at the proposal before it’s finalized.

For that, Basran outlined a few things he hopes will be addressed. He‘ll be looking for a good cycling and pedestrian experience in the area, showers and other end-of-trip facilities for Costco employees who want to bike to work and a strong landscaping plan to ensure that the facility integrates into the community.

The mayor also suggested future plans for a connection between the Okanagan Rail Trail and the Mission Park Greenway could be expedited as part of the planned improvements to the area. Currently, that plan is not scheduled to be set in motion until 2024.

READ MORE: Contentious Kelowna Costco relocation moved to public hearing

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thirty-four unionized workers represented by MoveUp started rotating job action at VantageOne Credit Union's two Vernon locations Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Workers are calling for basic job protection and fair security. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
VantageOne staff urged to take tentative deal in Vernon

It’s been more than one month since union workers went on strike

A part-time staff member at Vernon’s Chartwell Carrington Place Retirement Residence has tested positive for COVID-19, the seniors home’s general manager said Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Chartwell photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Vernon seniors home

An employee at Carrington Place has tested positive; Interior Health is not declaring an outbreak

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon COVID-19 care home deaths now up to 13

Another member of Noric House has passed

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Bernie Sanders at Kal Lake. (5iveby5ive)
PHOTOS: Bernie in Vernon

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has once again delighted the internet with his insta-meme status

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)
Overdose and suicide support group starts in Penticton

Penticton was one of the province’s communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis in 2020

The steel mills in the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dyer: Stay the course on Carbon pricing

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Voting is the number one, bare minimum way to have your voice heard by government. (File photo)
Jocelyn’s Jottings: Want to make change? Here are some suggestions

As a citizen you have a voice, you just have to know who to talk to

Most Read