On Tuesday night, Kelowna city council in an 8-1 vote, approved plans for the Mission Group’s Aqua development, the ambitious land project on the lakeshore (beside the Eldorado). The Mission Group received approval to move ahead with the development permit process for what they champion is a publicly accessible, "landmark" waterfront destination in the Mission Creek neighbourhood – a large-scale, lakeside residential community with a mix of public and private amenities.
Zoning for Aqua
Back on May 2, 2017, Kelowna City Council gave a Third Reading to a bylaw to formalize the Tourist Commercial zoning for the Aqua lands. This zoning includes approximately 350 homes in three residential buildings. It also allows for the operation of the Aqua Marine Valet boat storage facility, as well as retail and commercial storefronts.
Variances for More Height – But with Human Scale and Stepped Solutions
Following the rezoning approval in early 2017, Mission Group refined their development proposal and requested a variance for 16 storey maximum building heights versus the six story limit that's in place now – their original application was for 13 - 19 storeys. In addition, they requested the boat storage unit to increase in height to four storeys versus one (6.0m to 17.4m).
Mission Group states in the proposal, "Aqua’s two, three, and four storey podium creates a comfortable pedestrian scale, which is activated at each edge by townhomes, boutique retail, residential lobbies or the AMV Clubhouse Amenity. The stepped building forms above, provide a strong gesture of green terraces, progressing towards the water, capturing sunlight and views while breaking down the scale of the twelve, fourteen and sixteen storey buildings."
Balancing the Public, the Foreshore and the Commercial
Throughout the application process, Mission Group has worked with city staff on the efficiency of the Cook Road Boat Launch parking area to enhance the Tourist Commercial nature of the neighbourhood. For instance, we can expect new commercial amenities to be part of the Aqua Marine Valet operation which will provide rental of non-motorized watercraft such as paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks to the public along with public amenities such as washrooms and the like.
Also, and most importantly to all Okanagan lakeside lovers, a series of public pathways plan to be built to create a pedestrian and cyclist friendly neighbourhood, and to help ease vehicle traffic. Additionally, the proposal aligns itself with the city's “Long Term Foreshore Strategy” and will include the potential for a new, publicly accessible beach in front of the newly constructed public waterfront boardwalk.
In advance of the public meetings that took place, Mission Group created an animated short video to show how the new project will look from the ground. It begins on Lakeshore Road and Truswell Road and takes the viewer into the centre of the complex before ending out on the lake.