Westbank Centre Revitalization Plan

View of the district of West Kelowna

To revive a downtown drained of stores and shoppers by malls on the highway that has skirted the community since 1990, the district of West Kelowna drafted a 25-year plan to remake the central Westbank Centre neighbourhood as a pedestrian-friendly place to live, work and play.

The plan grew out of a series of public meetings and calls for a mix of higher density housing, niche retail stores, sidewalk cafes and a farmers' market. It would limit traffic through downtown while encouraging transit use and create cycling paths linking the area to trails around Okanagan Lake and the Glen Canyon Regional Park. It urges governments to locate a library and a health-care centre in the neighbourhood.

As a first step, council approved $250,000 for benches, planters, lights and other Westbank Centre street improvements.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • Reduces sprawl with higher density and infill housing downtown
  • Reduces GHG emissions by reducing the number of cars and promoting  transit, cycling and walking
  • Expands downtown economic base  with niche retail shops that complement big-box mall stores
  • Creates customers for local business with higher density housing
  • Improves quality of life in a  compact neighbourhood that combines housing, shopping and recreation
  • Eases access to health, library and other services

Challenges

  • Allocating staff to the project in competition with other planning exercises.
  • Finding time to consider feasibility of final recommendations.
  • Producing an illustrated brochure free of planning jargon to promote the plan to merchants and developers.

Lessons learned

  • Involve staff from all departments to ensure that project recommendations support other civic plans and priorities.
  • Events combining multiple planning exercises attract wider public participation and make more efficient use of staff.
  • Digital modeling makes complex traffic-change proposals easier to comprehend.

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Nancy Henderson
Director of Development Services
District of West Kelowna, BC
T. 778-797-8833

© 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities