Earlier this week, Gail Temple, Westcorp Vice President of Operations visited local blog Kelowna Now for a third time this year for a sit down interview with Kent Molgat to explain why their massive waterfront hotel/condo tower is being delayed yet again.
In the interview she revealed that she hopes that the sales centre will go up for the 33 storey tower some time next year. There were some other tidbits that she disclosed to Kent that were not exactly front and centre in the days surrounding the approval process, such as: at least 50% of the 47 luxury condos for sale will be occupied by residents who will only spend a small portion of their time here. “These are second homes that people use 100 days a year,” she says, adding that while other developers are moving ahead with their own developments throughout the back drop of this upcoming speculation tax legislation, “their target market and price point is a little different”, and that Westcorp’s condo purchasers will not be looking to rent them out when they’re not in them. That’s really healthy for Kelowna’s housing and overall economic contributions.
Gail mentioned on a couple of occasions that “BC is being unfriendly” towards these potential purchasers. As full time residents in Kelowna, we often wonder why that question can’t be asked the other way around? As a homeowner, why are you only gracing us with your presence when the weather is just right? Why don’t you like us enough to commit to the health of our city full time and rent your units out when you’re not here, and in so doing help us out of our current housing crisis? If BC being “unfriendly” means attempting to make it realistic to house its citizens and create vibrant communities, then something’s askew with her view.
Gail’s biggest concession in the interview came when she said this:
“We were supposed to go to hearing (at city council) in December but it was the city who asked us to take a step back and relook at Queensway, which we did and created the beautiful street plaza, and that put us at hearing on February 20. So our timelines when we were scheduled for early December were ample to make all the decisions to be made about a presentation centre. But the reality is we would have been really pressed for time, and you don’t want to be when you’re trying to sell high end real estate.”
At the February 20 city council meeting when the city approved the project, Temple had plenty of opportunity to bring this up and mention that the initial presentation centre (and subsequent marketing you would think) would likely not start until 2019, but she did not. She could have come clean even after Councillor Mohini Singh addressed her face to face and hoped that, upon her approving the project, that there would be no further delays. Temple remained quiet. So Gail Temple, when you say that this project will get done, your word is not bond. The last delay in 2016 was for the supposed concern over the water table near Kerry Park. This time it’s a two month delay before going to council that is pushing the project back a full year. That math doesn’t exactly compute.