Heritage planning

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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.

Read this overview on the development process
Heritage conservation areas

Heritage conservation areas 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. Heritage alteration permits are generally required for construction or building alterations in these unique neighbourhoods.

  • 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.

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 Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 11185.

Guiding principles for heritage planning

The heritage conservation area development guidelines and Chapter 16 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 heritage alteration permit application package to the Application Centre on the second floor of City Hall.

Your heritage alteration permit will be processed as per Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 11185 Your application may need to be reviewed by the Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC). The HAC is a Council-appointed committee that reviews and provides advice on applications within heritage conservation areas and on other types of heritage development proposals.

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 Heritage Procedures Bylaw No. 11185 .

The heritage grants program  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.

The heritage grants program is administered by the Central Okanagan Heritage Society , which can be contacted at cohs@telus.net or 250-861-7188 for more information.