Densifying heritage

Many of the older residential areas of Kelowna are crisscrossed with lanes, and many lane or carriage houses have already been built.

Walk along Abbott Street or the beautifully restored part of Bernard or Lawrence Avenues, then round the corner and walk the lanes and see the transformations that have already taken place. This happened without reducing the character and walkability of those unique areas.

It seems one part of the provincial government is demanding urban densification to address the need for more housing, while the B.C. Assessment Authority is now increasing the land values on land that has potential for densification, as commercial areas of town have recently discovered.

There’s little doubt Kelowna needs more low-and middle-income housing, but if the potential of densification is going to increase the value of the land, it will also increase the value of the houses, and nothing will have been achieved.

Surely, communities must maintain control of buildout and densification in order to provide essential services, such as water, hydro, sewers, parks, manageable transportation corridors.

The provincially mandated changes are designed to enhance the province’s response to the need for “affordable” housing.

They are profoundly poorly thought out and Kelowna city council, along with other concerned city councils, need to push back with some common sense solutions that will preserve our neighbourhoods and still address the issue of affordability.

Sharron J Simpson, Kelowna

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