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Penticton’s largest housing project clears public hurdle

The Health and Innovation District will add up to 1,500 units of housing to the community
Up to 1,500 units of rental and strata apartments are being proposed for a property located across from the Penticton Regional Hospital. (City of Penticton)

In a battle between Penticton’s need for housing and its limited space for industrial businesses, it was housing that won out.

After a public hearing that stretched well over an hour and had a score of speakers, city council gave their unanimous approval to update the Official Community Plan for the largest housing project in the city.

The Health and Innovation District will be located across from the Penticton Regional Hospital at 1704 Government Street and will have up to 1,500 units of multifamily apartments, split between strata and rental along with commercial space.

The project will still need to come back to council for zoning and any potential further variances. It will also require development permits from the city.

READ MORE: Penticton’s largest housing project going to public hearing

Members of the public, from residents near to the planned project to businesses in the industrial area, all weighed in, with neither those for nor those against outnumbering the other.

Feedback provided ahead of the public hearing to the city found that two thirds either somewhat or strongly supported the project.

Concerns shared ahead and during the hearing ranged from the impact on traffic, the proximity to industrial businesses and the levels of sound they create, and particularly the impact the loss of 10 acres of industrial land would have on the city.

Out of those who spoke in support of the project, the project’s location and its proximity and walkability for nearby businesses, the Penticton Regional Hospital, Carmi Elementary School, and the Government Street bike-lane all made it an ideal development.

The representative for the developer, the Stryke Group said that the project, with its location, would not be tuned towards expensive, high-end units.

The Stryke Group representative said that they plan to build space for 300 commercial jobs, and they had already received interest from a business that is looking for space for 75 jobs before the project even received approval.

A shift towards commercial jobs away from traditional industrial businesses was recognized by Mayor Julius Bloomfield when he spoke to his support for the project.

“With this development in front of us, a lot of the ground level of this site will be creating jobs,” said Bloomfield. “It’s going from manufacturing to medical and services and that’s where the bigger money is.”

Bloomfield also noted that the city had not done a good job managing the industrial land with the proliferation of storage complexes and warehouses that employ a minimal amount of people compared to the land they take up.

Further traffic impact work will be done as the project goes through rezoning in the future.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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