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Six-storey development at former Ogopogo motel site passes public hurdle

The strata apartment will include 117 one-bedroom and 89 two-bedroom units at 270 Riverside Drive
Penticton council approved a six-storey development at 270 Riverside Drive at its regular meeting on Dec. 20 (City of Penticton photo)

A six-storey, 234-unit strata apartment appears headed for Penticton’s North Gateway area.

The proposed development at 270 Riverside Drive — located at the former Ogopogo motel site — passed the public hearing hurdle on Tuesday night, Dec. 20.

Concerns from both the public and council over allowing vacation rentals at the building didn’t stop the development from getting through second and third readings by a 5-1 vote. Coun. James Miller was opposed and coun. Helena Konanz was recused due to a conflict of interest.

The development will include 117 one-bedroom and 89 two-bedroom units, as well as 297 vehicle parking spaces and 261 secure bicycle lockers in an enclosed two-level parkade.

Consistent with council’s previous meeting on Dec. 6, the greatest concern associated with the proposal remained vacation rentals. No more than 25 per cent (59 units) of the total 234 units, however, will be designated for short-term visits, according to the applicant.

Coun. Miller had previously expressed concerns about allowing vacation rentals at the property and voted against rezoning the project to permit it, on Dec. 6.

The property is currently zoned to allow vacation rentals. While the developers say the building will not be pitched to potential buyers as a short-term vacation spot, they also add that keeping the option there ensures the development is competitive in Penticton’s housing market.

“This fits exactly with what we want with the North Gateway and I’m excited to see it come through,” said coun. Campbell Watt.

Penticton’s North Gateway area — best known for being home to the South Okanagan Events Centre — will be the city’s first-ever neighbourhood where people can live, work, shop and play all within a 15-minute walking radius. The “bold and forward-thinking” plan was officially implemented in July 2022.

READ ALSO: Penticton implements ‘bold plan’ for first-ever live, work, play neighbourhood

City staff, meanwhile, received seven letters from the public regarding the six-storey project on Riverside Drive, with allowing the use of vacation rentals also a primary concern.

Developers are proposing to include a number of amenities in its project, including two indoor fitness rooms, a food truck pad, a bike repair station an outdoor kitchen and more.

Along with the one and two-bedroom options, the proposed development features a total of 28 studio units.

The building will be at the site of Ogopogo Motel, which was demolished in 2021. Though it is currently zoned for 15-storey developments, project managers say its current six-storey proposal is a better fit for the North Gateway area.

Official adoption of the project will come upon approval from the Ministry of Transportation, according to Penticton city staff.

READ ALSO: Vacation rentals a concern for proposed 6-storey Penticton apartment project


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