Draft 2040 OCP


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Last Updated: 
September 17, 2021


2040 OCP - Chapter 10 - Parks chapter header, image of Quilchena Waterpark in Kelowna

2040 OCP Parks Pillars

A great park system is key to a livable, vibrant and dynamic City and includes a wide variety of parks.These can range from sports fields, to plazas and to protected natural areas. Parks contribute to the physical and mental health of residents and are an attraction to visitors. They also contribute to environmental health, through mitigating the heat island effect, filtering pollutants, absorbing stormwater and protecting and providing habitat for rare ecosystems and species at risk.

Parks build community. They provide space for outdoor gatherings, sport events, shows and festivals. In so doing, they are foundational for social wellbeing. Above all, parks are a gift to future generations. As the City continues to grow, parks will play an increasingly important role, especially as this growth is directed to Urban Centres and the Core Area. The acquisition and development of parks in these districts in particular will be critical to providing Kelowna citizens with a high quality of life.

Objective 10.1. Acquire new parks to enhance livability throughout the City.

Policy 10.1.1. Equitable Distribution of Parks and Amenities.
Provide an equitable distribution of neighbourhood and community parks throughout the City through new park acquisition and development in growing and underserved neighbourhoods.

Policy 10.1.2. Equitable Amounts of Parkland.
Strive to provide an equitable amount of parkland for neighbourhood and community parks in urban and suburban areas.

Policy 10.1.3. Park Acquisition Priorities.
Consider a balanced approach between all active park types when considering the acquisition of future parkland to acknowledge the wide diversity of park users and park needs:

  • City-wide parks: Provide lake or linear park access or hill top views.
  • City-wide and Recreation Parks: Are adjacent or connected to existing parks creating efficiencies by building adjacent existing infrastructure, such as playgrounds, washrooms, parking and irrigation;
  • Recreation parks: Maximize the use of limited large flat sites by providing additional fields and courts for the greatest demand and diversity of user groups; and
  • Community and Neighbourhood parks: Serve growth, particularly in Urban Centres and the Core Area, and other areas of multi-family residential development characterized by limited private outdoor recreational space.

Establish more detailed acquisition priorities through the Parks Master Plan.

Policy 10.1.4. Park Acquisition Targets.
Provide a standard of 1.0 km of linear parks and 2.2 hectares of active parks per 1,000 new population to serve growth and to guide parks planning initiatives. As a general target for active parks this would be inclusive of:

  • Local (Neighbourhood and Community) parks, ranging from 0.25 Ha to 0.35 Ha;
  • City-wide parks, ranging from 0.6 Ha to 1.0 Ha; and
  • Recreational parks, ranging from 0.6 Ha to 1.0 Ha.

Policy 10.1.5. Proximity to Parks.
Within the Urban Centres and the Core Area, strive for a walking distance of 400 metres to neighbourhood and community parks. Outside the Core Area and Urban Centres, strive for a walking distance to neighbourhood, community, linear parks or natural areas within 500m.

Policy 10.1.6. Park Designation Phasing.
In phased developments, ensure that park needs are met by requiring that all future parks and open space networks are identified and confirmed through zoning prior to the residential development that relies on them. 

Policy 10.1.7. Voluntary Park Dedications.
When an owner of land offers voluntary park dedication beyond minimum requirements, consider allowing use of the original site area in computing density and floor area ratios and minimum area for development or subdivision purposes.

Policy 10.1.8. Park Acquisition Timing.
Where possible, acquire park properties in advance of growth to incentivize future development, create more attractive neighbourhoods and to manage costs.

Policy 10.1.9. Park Alternative Funding Strategies.
Investigate funding alternatives available through legislation dedication and gifting, including the option of receiving park land as gifts in exchange for a charitable tax receipt.

Policy 10.1.10.School Sites.
Consider school sites that are to be disposed of for park acquisition.

Policy 10.1.11. Equitable Charge.
Consider that an 'equitable charge' be required on title where developments choose to have landscaping over and above regular City standard.

Policy 10.1.12. Maximize Resources.
Expand or build on existing parks to maximize existing infrastructure, flexibility and opportunity, as well as efficiencies during operation.

Policy 10.1.13. Synergize Other Infrastructure Opportunities.
Integrate with other infrastructure to increase potential and usability of City assets.

Policy 10.1.14. Hillside Parks.
Ensure that active park space is flat and suitable for neighbourhood and community park use.  Natural Areas may be connected to active park space but is not a replacement for it. To accommodate the challenges of providing parks in hillside developments, creatively consider using multiple smaller flat sites connected through a network of trails and using topography for views and other points of interest. 

Policy 10.1.15. Natural Areas.
Preserve a diversity of Natural Areas for habitat and ecosystem conservation, including ecosystem connectivity corridors, with limited trails access and other low impact activities. The network should contain representative Okanagan ecosystems, contain areas of natural beauty and of high visual sensitivity, with opportunities for viewpoints, staging areas and linear trails. Aim for contiguous spaces that link to other regionally and provincially protected spaces. Ensure that acquired spaces have adequate access for maintenance and linear trails, and that hazards (e.g. wildfire or rock fall) are mitigated prior to acquisition. Disturbed and weedy areas are not suitable for natural park areas, unless restored to the satisfaction of the City prior to transfer. The cost / benefit of the land must result in an overall benefit to the City rather than a maintenance burden.

Policy 10.1.16. Manage Public Access.
Manage the impacts of public access in Natural Area parks by  defining and developing trails which maximize public safety while minimizing human impact on the most sensitive and vulnerable areas; and reducing the impact of trails for example by reducing width, modifying surfaces, and developing boardwalks.

Policy 10.1.17. Parklets.
Support the temporary conversion of on-street parking spaces into a small public parks where they are privately funded and maintained but serve as public space that is accessible to all.

Policy 10.1.18. Creative Shared Use Spaces.
Develop underutilized spaces for public shared use to supplement park spaces. Approaches may include, but are not limited to:

  • Using spaces after regular hours, such as roof decks of parkades; 
  • Public use of private open spaces, such as private recreation facilities, podiums and roof gardens, through partnership agreements and statutory rights-of-way.; and
  • Developing existing parks with higher intensity uses (e.g. sport fields, lighting, artificial turf fields).

Policy 10.1.19. Servicing Suburban Parks. 
Where surrounding infrastructure adjacent designated parks is provided through development, services and standards shall be in accordance with the City of Kelowna Park Acquisition Guidelines, as amended.

Policy 10.1.20. Utilities in Parks.
Avoid locating public or private utilities in parks and natural open spaces unless an overall public benefit and environmental management best practices can be demonstrated. Where these criteria can be met, locate and design the utility in such a way as to minimize impact to park users and to the surrounding neighbourhood.

Objective 10.2. Ensure parks and public spaces are connected to each other and accessible for all citizens.

Policy 10.2.1. Connected Parks.
Maximize the value and accessibility of the parks network through landscaped and pedestrian-friendly connections.  Link active parks, public spaces, natural areas, and the waterfront with green corridors including: linear parks, shared spaces, Active Transportation Corridors, public pathways, and improved streetscapes and landscaping design.

Policy 10.2.2. Parks on Streets.
To supplement park place in Urban Centres, and the Core Area, consider repurposing underused or redundant streets to provide additional public amenity space, through a permanent transition from vehicular to park use, for portions of public road right-of-way. Approaches could include, but are not limited to:

  • Conversion of unused rights-of-way and laneways;
  • Increased boulevards as park space;
  • Increased tree canopy; and
  • Programs to facilitate neighbourhood activities and events.

Streets with potential to be investigated include, but are not limited to, Kingsway Street, Martin Avenue, Grenfell Avenue and Morrison Avenue.

Policy 10.2.3. Shared Spaces as Gathering Places.
Utilize streets for park uses that are underused for vehicle traffic outside of peak hours, particularly those adjacent to parks and other public realm spaces, to provide additional public amenity space. Approaches could include:

  • Temporary closures at weekends and/or evenings;
  • Different road materials and other traffic calming measures to give priority to pedestrians; and
  • Programs to facilitate neighbourhood activities and events.

Policy 10.2.4. Urban Linear Parks.
Reclaim underutilized land within street Right-of-Way to create urban linear parks, to achieve a greater balance between the pedestrian and vehicular realm for local streets with low vehicular demand, as outlined on Map 10.1. Animate urban linear parks with elements similar to traditional parks such as trees, ornamental plantings, community gardens, seating areas, small-scale play equipment and other amenities. Installations may be temporary or permanent.

Policy 10.2.5. Linear Parks.
Continue to work towards implementing the Linear Park Master Plan and connecting with other trail systems and transportation networks with a minimum 10m public access through dedication as a titled lot or Statutory Right-of-Way at subdivision or rezoning for all development types as outlined on Map 10.1.

Policy 10.2.6. Dedication of Linear Parks.
At subdivision and rezoning for all development types secure a minimum 10-metre wide linear corridor for public access as included on Map 10.1. The 10-metre wide corridor may be in addition to, and outside, any riparian management area requirements of the OCP. On the private property side of the public access corridor, the City may, as necessary, consider stipulating additional “no disturb” zones. Lot line adjustments or other subdivision applications not resulting in the creation of new lots suitable for the construction of buildings permitted under the applicable zoning will be considered exempt from this policy. Linear trail corridors can have the following tenure which will be determined by staff at the time of subdivision or rezoning:

  • Titled property in the name of the City as a park, protected area, or
  • Statutory right of way.

Policy 10.2.7. Applicant’s Costs.  
Require that all survey and legal costs incurred with establishing the linear park dedication, as a result of a development application, be the responsibility of the applicant. The City of Kelowna will accept responsibility for all survey and legal costs incurred due to the voluntary establishment of a linear park dedication.

Policy 10.2.8. Acquisition of Linear Parks. 
Where linear corridor dedication cannot be acquired through development, explore acquisition using other approaches that include, but are not limited to:

  • Negotiating voluntary dedication using pre-dedication land area for density calculations, density transfer, land exchange or other incentives available to local governments; and
  • Purchase of a portion or all of the property required for the linear park.
  • Buy, sever the linear park portion and sell the remaining.

Policy 10.2.9. Pedestrian Connectivity through Developments.
Plan street and development designs to maintain pedestrian connections through alternative routes. Plan for trails between lots, at ends of cul-de-sacs and in areas of challenging topography, to maintain pedestrian connections to all park types. Connections may be achieved through road dedication, lot dedication or statutory right of way.

Policy 10.2.10. Trails for Multiple Objectives.
Optimize locations of linear trails adjacent developments for multiple objectives, including wildfire fuel breaks, fuel reduction and maintenance in natural areas.

Objective 10.3. Ensure parks reflect their unique natural and cultural context.

Policy 10.3.1. Parks as Community Spaces.
Focus on developing spaces that foster health, social connections, and appreciation for the natural environment.

Policy 10.3.2. Sense of Place.
Focus on the uniqueness of place to provide a variety of park experiences that reflect the neighbourhood or natural context, developing diversity within the park system with a variety in amenities, with a focus on quality design.

Policy 10.3.3. Quality of Park Interfaces.
Encourage a variety of park interfaces with different land uses to activate and provide character to parks throughout the City, such as:

  • Front doors and windows towards parks;
  • Pedestrian walkway connections to parks;
  • Landscaping based on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles;
  • Adjacent local retail, restaurants, and other compatible commercial or institutional uses that generate a high level of activity; and
  • Mobile vendors, where appropriate.

Policy 10.3.4. Urban Parks.
To accommodate the challenges of park provision in Urban Centres and the Core Area, provide smaller parks at walkable intervals and provide a greater density of durable amenities to serve a greater number of people. 

Policy 10.3.5. Reconciliation and Celebration of Indigenous Culture.
Include spaces in parks that provide opportunities for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Canada, and celebrate Indigenous culture, particularly syilx/Okanagan culture. Work collaboratively with the syilx/Okanagan people to pursue opportunities for sharing the Nsyilxcen traditional language in parks and public spaces.

Policy 10.3.6. Parks for Arts and Culture.
Highlight unique and culturally significant spaces in parks and provide spaces to celebrate a diversity of heritage, arts, and culture. Consider the needs of diverse groups and cultures when designing public amenities and spaces.

Policy 10.3.7. Year-Round Activity.
Promote year round use of parks through seasonally appropriate amenities and design.

Policy 10.3.8. Parks for All.
Design for a variety of facilities and amenities that function for a diversity of ages and abilities in parks.

Objective 10.4. Increase public access to water.

Policy 10.4.1. Access to Water.
Provide public access to water, including creeks, wetlands, ponds and lakes through a variety of implementation strategies, including acquisition, through dedication at subdivision and rezoning, partnership agreements and statutory rights of ways as outlined on Map 10.1.

Policy 10.4.2. Linear Park Priorities. 
Linear park investment, as outlined on Map 10.1, should focus on providing public access in the following areas as opportunities arise:

  • Bellevue Creek
  • Gopher Creek
  • Mill Creek
  • Mission Creek – Lakeshore Road to Okanagan Lake
  • Okanagan Lake – Mission Creek to Knox Mountain Park

Policy 10.4.3. Linear Parks along Okanagan Lake. 
With any land use changes (including OCP amendments, rezoning and subdivision) along Okanagan Lake, require a waterfront linear park dedication to provide continuous public access, consistent with linear park policy and Map 10.1. In addition, recognize that Linear Parks along the waterfront will be attractive for people walking and biking, for both recreational and transportation purposes. Be proactive in planning for both uses, allowing all users to enjoy the waterfront.

Policy 10.4.4. Public Access along Water for Strata Developments.
Through development, all strata lots created that border a water body shall provide a minimum of 7 metres width of linear park for public access along the water body for public access, in accordance with the Bare Land Strata Regulations under the authority of the Strata Property Act.

Policy 10.4.5. Activate the Waterfront.
Provide a variety of experiences along the waterfront. Promote activity along the waterfront throughout the year, including a variety of amenities.

Policy 10.4.6. Beach Access Dedications.
In new subdivisions acquire beach access points as sanctioned under the Land Titles Act. The dedications obtained should be accessible to a broad range of users, be at environmentally appropriate locations and where terrain conditions do not require construction that would be detrimental to the environment, steep slopes, or other park uses.

Policy 10.4.7. Waterfront Protection.
Design parks and public spaces to proactively protect the waterfront from damage from climatic events.

Policy 10.4.8. Waterfront Park Development.
To balance the need for public amenities along the waterfront, consider using an Okanagan Lake habitat balance approach in the development of Okanagan Lake foreshore park land through the following sequence of actions: avoid, mitigate, and compensate habitat impacts to achieve a long-term net positive benefit over the entire publicly owned foreshore park land.

Objective 10.5. Encourage partnerships to acquire and deliver parks and public spaces.

Policy 10.5.1. Community Use of Schools.
Encourage schools to be designed so as to facilitate, during non-school hours, use for before/after school programs, recreation programs, youth/family activities, adult education or other community uses.

Policy 10.5.2. Regional Parks.
Support the acquisition of regionally significant lands by the Regional District of Central Okanagan to provide wildlife habitat preservation, ecosystem connectivity and protect sensitive ecosystems.

Policy 10.5.3. Citizen Participation.
Foster resident driven solutions and involvement in park use and community involvement.

Policy 10.5.4. Collaboration with Indigenous Communities.
Foster partnerships and collaboration with local Indigenous communities to build greater understanding, opportunities for education, and for celebrating culture.

Policy 10.5.5. Community Partnerships.
Encourage partnerships with other agencies and community groups to deliver high quality public space and park amenities, as well as maintenance agreements.

Policy 10.5.6. Public Spaces on Private Land.
Promote shared public space in private developments for a variety of land uses through partnerships.