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Nov 26, 2009

Letter from the Chamber President - Municipal Election


Date ArticleType
11/26/2009 General
Letter from the Chamber President - Municipal Election

Dear Kelowna Chamber Member,                 

On behalf of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, I am writing to you today regarding the upcoming municipal by-election that will take place this Saturday, November 28, 2009.

First and foremost, I am urging you to vote…your vote is important. Voter apathy is a major concern in this by-election and more than ever, your vote will carry significant weight in determining the future leadership of our City.

Secondly, as you consider which candidate to vote for, I want to reiterate the importance of moving forward on the downtown development plan (CD-21 Zoning). The Kelowna Chamber is a strong proponent of balanced development in our city. We have been urging City Council to demonstrate leadership and approve this plan. From an economic perspective, this development plan strives to balance the economic, social, and environmental needs of our community.

In the months ahead, City Council will be called upon to make crucial decisions including approval of the CD-21 downtown development plan. Your vote on November 28th is crucial to ensure this newly elected City Councillor is committed in this regard.

As background, the City of Kelowna initiated a Comprehensive Development Zoning process in 2007 to revitalize the heart of our downtown. Through nearly two years of public consultation, and hundreds of thousands of municipal tax dollars, the residents of Kelowna carved out an exciting and comprehensive plan which provided for:

• Additional public space

• Greater access to the waterfront

• Tree retention

• Protection of heritage buildings facades

• Innovative storm water management

• Affordable housing that might not otherwise be obtained with conventional zoning

Throughout this two year consultative process, residents and business people provided continuous feedback which resulted in many revisions of the original plan such as:

• A reduction in the number of towers in the area

• A reduction in overall building height

• Increased distance between towers

• Enhanced retention of heritage scale/facades

• Enhanced focus on public spaces and pedestrian movements, with a particular focus on the Sails area as a focal point and the pedestrian connection between Abbott and Bernard Streets

The positive economic impact of the CD-21 plan is dramatic. Prior to the downturn in our economy, the construction sector was the top economic driver in Kelowna. With the onset of the economic downturn, the construction sector has slowed dramatically. Moving forward with the CD-21 plan would send a very positive signal that would jumpstart our construction sector. The result would be the attraction of more investment and the creation of more jobs; and over a period of time generate increased tax revenues to pay for needed community infrastructure.

The spin-offs to the rest of the business community would be significant. The economy of Kelowna has a very strong business-to-business service sector which thrives on primary drivers such as the construction and real estate sectors.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce supports the CD-21 plan and has urged Kelowna City Council to show leadership by approving this plan. We have asked each of the candidates their position on the CD-21 downtown development plan and their responses can be found here.

As a business organization, the Kelowna Chamber is non political and non partisan; we do not support any specific candidate in the upcoming by-election. Our role is to educate our membership on key issues so that you can make an informed decision. Please vote on Saturday, November 28th.


Norm LeCavalier,

President Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

Candidate responses to questions

Information about the candidates

Voting station locations