What is SmarterGrowth?

Smartergrowth is a set of principles aimed at improving a sustainable quality of life; affordability, connectivity, safety and the environment of our communities.

Smarter, more affordable development patterns are needed to protect a sustainable quality of life, promote resilient neighbourhoods, maintain bio-diversity and environmental protections, and enhance economic prosperity. Density, transit, and active transportation are the keys to a sustainable community model.

Strategic Densification

The most effective way for the city of Kelowna to reduce homelessness and improve affordability is to simultaneously increase available single-family homes, low to mid-rise housing complexes, and rental inventory. This can be achieved by strategic zoning and densification efforts.

The city of Kelowna made a well-intentioned decision to increase inventory with rezoning efforts, and broad RU7 zoning was a great economic stimulus! However four-plexes that are effectively 1-2 units of additional housing each, drive up real estate prices and do little to help with the inventory crisis.
The solution requires a much more nuanced approach. The city of Kelowna must bridge the gap between residents and developers to create effective low to mid-rise housing complexes - located in walkable neighbourhoods.

  • Consider converting existing RU7 zoning to RM5 or RM6 zoning to encourage mid-rise development,
  • 5-6 storey mid-rise housing complexes can add 70-100 units of inventory to the market versus a current maximum of 12 (RU7 zoning),
  • Wood-framed six-storey condominiums save costs, boost sustainability efforts,
  • Improved walkability; all necessities within a 5-10-minute walk from home; streets designed to enable and encourage walking; clear access to public transit.

Oversight and Reform on Skyrise Development

The city of Kelowna adopted a plan that calls for a maximum height of 26 storeys, however several developments in the downtown core have been granted variances upto an additional 20 storeys.

Skyrise development is necessary in any sprawling metropolis; poor planning isn't. The city of Kelowna must work collaboratively with residents to ensure developments fall within a shared community vision for Kelowna.
Skyrises create an abundance of high-cost inventory, often making a negative impact on accessible affordable housing. Higher costs drive up real estate prices and rental rates. Skyrises also create stress points that demand smarter transit infrastructure.

  • Vigorous community engagement to either abide by or amend the 26 storey limitation for skyrises,
  • Compel developers to include or support social and affordable housing in every project,
  • Maintain walkability and engineer solutions for transit stress points caused by new developments,
  • Compel environmental considerations and preserve tree canopy.

  • Hydrail Okanagan

    The hydrail system – similar to what’s utilized in Europe using Canadian electric battery technology – is the most compelling method of meeting today’s transportation infrastructure demands long into the future, with the added bonus of drawing tourists from around the world to enjoy.

    Our current transit infrastructure has been at capacity for over 10 years. The city of Kelowna needs to not only work on improved connectivity, but alternative transit such as the hydrail project. This is existing, proven technology that could be implemented at relatively low cost in the Okanagan Valley with high ridership attractiveness.

    • Connects the Okanagan Valley in an efficient, socially-conscious and environmentally sustainable way,
    • Addresses congestion effectively,
    • Reduces transportation costs for students and seniors, while maintaining access to health services and community for seniors no longer driving,
    • Compared to roads, Hydrail is 10% of the cost, safer, cleaner, quieter and supports community climate change action plans in the Okanagan Valley.

    SmarterGrowth Discussions

    Follow along as Daniel Joseph has engaging discussions with SmarterGrowth founder and professional engineer Dr. Gord Lovegrove.