Heritage planning

Heritage conservation areas 

Kelowna’s heritage properties have historic, architectural and social value. A variety of tools and programs are used to protect and restore heritage properties in Kelowna.

Heritage conservation areas (HCAs) have special heritage value and character and are designated for long-term protection in an Official Community Plan. Section 614 of the Local Government Act allows local governments to establish heritage conservation areas.

There are two heritage conservation areas in Kelowna, one near Abbott Street and one near Marshall Street. Changes to the HCAs are managed using the Heritage Conservation Area Development Guidelines, which were established in 1997. 

Heritage Conservation Area Development Guidelines: update underway

Project timeline

  • Phase One of the HCA was completed in 2021 and assessed whether the Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) Development Guidelines met their intended objectives in a quantitative way. The findings of this phase can be found in the Review of Kelowna's Heritage Conservation Areas (2021).
  • Phase Two (current phase) will gather data and input from the public through targeted engagement. This phase will help us better understand the viewpoints of those who live in or otherwise experience our HCAs.  
  • Phase Three of the process would see the HCA guidelines updated, using the review findings provided in Phases One and Two. The updated Guidelines would be brought to Council for consideration, anticipated in 2024. 

The review of the HCA Development Guidelines is one way we can preserve and promote Kelowna’s cultural and historical heritage. Stay tuned for additional details on the HCA Development Guidelines Review and opportunities to get involved. 

Altering a heritage property

Heritage alteration permits are generally required for construction or building alterations in the HCAs. If you are planning to construct or build in these areas, you will require a Heritage Review prepared by a Professional Heritage Consultant as part of the application process. 

The Abbott Street area generally applies to properties between Mill Creek to the north, Pandosy Street to the east, Kelowna General Hospital to the south and Okanagan Lake to the west

  • The Marshall Street area generally applies to properties located along Marshall Street and immediately east along Buckland Avenue and Rowcliffe Avenue
  • Check out our Map Viewer to see if your property is in a heritage conservation area.
Read this overview on the development process
Additional background
Purpose of heritage conservation areas

Kelowna's older residential neighbourhoods are under redevelopment pressure, and the citizens of Kelowna want to preserve the character of these areas. The Abbott Street and Marshall Street neighbourhoods were identified specifically as two areas with a high level of heritage significance.

The intent of establishing heritage conservation areas is to manage change, not to prevent it. Within Kelowna’s heritage conservation areas, we encourage the retention of existing residences. Proposals for new dwellings and building alterations within the heritage conservation areas are carefully reviewed for compatibility with the existing neighbourhood.

Overall, the purpose of the Kelowna’s heritage conservation areas is to:

  • Maintain residential and historical character
  • Encourage new development, additions and renovations to be compatible with the form and character of the existing context
  • Ensure that changes to buildings and streetscapes happen in ways that maintain a “sense-of-place”
  • Provide areas of historical interest for visitors
Protecting, restoring & developing heritage properties

In addition to heritage conservation areas, heritage properties can be protected through approval of a Heritage Designation Bylaw, a heritage revitalization agreement or a heritage conservation covenant. To see which properties have heritage protection, check out our list of protected heritage properties.

Properties on the City’s heritage register are also recognized as having heritage value. The registration process provides increased access to grants and incentives for heritage restoration. The process to register a heritage property is outlined in Development Application and Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 12310.

Guiding principles for heritage planning

The heritage conservation area development guidelines and Chapter 23 of the Official Community Plan provide information about how heritage development projects can preserve heritage character and complement existing neighbourhood form and character. These documents address various aspects of heritage planning including:

  • Dominant block patterns and setbacks
  • Building siting, character and massing
  • Window styles
  • Exterior finishes
  • Landscaping
Heritage alteration permits

A heritage alteration permit is required for the following types of development projects on designated heritage properties and properties within a heritage conservation area:

  • Subdividing a property
  • Constructing a new building
  • Building an addition to an existing building
  • Altering an existing building or land
  • Demolishing a building

To apply for a heritage alteration permit, submit a Standard Development Application Package to the Application Centre on the second floor of City Hall.

Your heritage alteration permit will be processed as per the Development Application and Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 12310. In the absence of an active Heritage Advisory Committee, a Heritage Review by a Registered Heritage Consultant, will be required as part of the heritage alteration permit process. 

Heritage revitalization agreements

Heritage revitalization agreements allow owners of heritage properties to vary what’s permitted on a property while providing long-term protection of heritage assets. Read our adaptive re-use guidelines to determine if a heritage revitalization agreement is appropriate for your property.

Grants & incentives for heritage restoration

Properties on the City’s heritage register are recognized as having heritage value. The registration process secures long-term protection of heritage assets and provides increased access to grants and incentives for heritage restoration. The process to register a heritage property is outlined in Development Application and Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 12310.

The Heritage Grants Program, administered by the Central Okanagan Heritage Society, promotes the conservation of registered heritage buildings by providing grants for exterior conservation work. Approximately $35,000 is available annually, with heritage-designated buildings eligible for a maximum of $12,500 per three-year period, and buildings listed on the Kelowna Heritage Register eligible for a maximum of $7,500 per three-year period.

Find more information about the Heritage Grants Program on the Central Okanagan Heritage Society's website.

Protecting archeological sites 

Know your role in protecting BC's archaeological sites. If you are planning on developing your property, please review our City of Kelowna Bulletin on Archaeological Sites. For more information you can visit the Province of BC's Archaeology Branch website and review the Provincial Property Owner Brochure to learn your responsibilities as a property owner.

Bulletin - Archaeological Sites