A major mixed-use waterfront village has been proposed on the Okanagan Lake shoreline in Vernon.
Avillia Developments has applied for an amendment to the official community plan (OCP) to make way for Port Okanagan, a project that would include a resort hotel as well as multi-residential and commercial uses at the corner of Okanagan Landing and Lakeshore Roads.
Other elements to the development include a conference centre, park space, a network of pedestrian pathways, improved lake access and protection of the surrounding sensitive wetland area.
“Port Okanagan would offer a unique opportunity to increase public enjoyment of the lake while creating a tourist and residential destination,” a report to council states.
The two side-by-side properties cover a combined 6.35 hectares, and the site has about seven hectares of environmentally sensitive wetland area known as the Marshall Wetlands.
“At first sight, I thought this really is a dream come true for Vernon at how we’re looking at development on the waterfront,” said Coun. Teresa Durning. “Then I thought about the wetlands. I am impressed at the thought and effort put into this to look after the environment.”
The proposal consists of a mix of low-rise to mid-rise buildings up to 10 storeys tall, with underground and at-grade parking.
Coun. Scott Anderson said the plan will transform Kin Beach into the attraction it should be.
“But the conference centre will make Vernon a destination unto itself,” he said.
Coun. Kari Gares said the conference centre was the dream of late Coun. Dalvir Nahal.
“Having it come to Vernon will add to tourism and that was her vision,” said Gares.
Multiple OCP revisions are required to move the project forward. The developers are looking to make two OCP changes to accommodate the mixed-use village and park space. A pair of rezoning amendments are also required.
Public consultation is required as well, and administration has recommended that the city host an in-person public open house in April. Information on the application will also be published online. Should the project be given first and second reading, neighbourhood residents will also be invited to provide comments at a public hearing.
Because the properties are within 4,000 metres of the Vernon Regional Airport, the height of the structures is set at a maximum of 45 metres.
Council gave unanimous approval to the proposal though Coun. Brian Quiring excused himself from the discussions citing a potential conflict of interest.