2040 Official Community Plan

The Gateway

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Last Updated: 
July 11, 2023
2040 OCP - Chapter 6 - The Gateway chapter header, image of Kelowna International Airport

The Gateway represents the entryway to Kelowna and plays a unique role as a driver of innovation and economic growth in the Okanagan region. It includes the Kelowna International Airport, which welcomes visitors from around the world, and straddles Highway 97, which is traveled by thousands of people every day and is a significant goods movement corridor. The Gateway is also home to UBC’s Okanagan Campus, connecting international students to Kelowna, and connecting local students to the world.

But the synergies aren’t just in the name. These institutions and infrastructure are connected in other ways. The University benefits from close proximity to one of the fastest growing airports in the country for easy access to international talent and markets. Partnerships between the university and adjacent industrial development stand to build an exciting future for research. All of the uses in the area benefit from the easy access to local and regional markets provided by Highway 97.

Leveraging these partnerships is encouraged as the area’s industrial base grows and matures, supported and driven by the University and airport. Student-focused residential and commercial uses are also encouraged in the area to facilitate the continued growth of UBC’s Okanagan campus. This kind of growth will also drive the area to embrace a shift in transportation behaviour to a greater focus on transit.

Land Use and Urban Design

2040 OCP - Gateway pillars related to Land Use and Urban Design

Land use directions in the Gateway focus primarily on three distinct types of development, each of which play a unique role in the City and in the region: the rapidly diversifying University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) campus, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and the growing industrial areas.

Continuing to facilitate growth in this important regional hub will require working closely with community and institutional partners in the Gateway and continuing to limit the erosion of industrial land uses, retaining these lands as primarily employment uses that serve the specific needs of industrial employers. Some of this development includes lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), requiring collaboration between the City and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) as these lands build out. Concurrently, residential uses should be limited to targeted areas within or near the University South Village Centre to support the University and other major employers in the area.

Objective 6.1. Support the evolution of the University of British Columbia – Okanagan into a more complete community.

Policy 6.1.1. UBCO Vision.
Support the University of British Columbia in implementing the vision outlined in its Okanagan Campus Plan, working towards the following:

  • Recognizing the university’s role as a hub for innovation in the City;
  • Supporting the expansion of university facilities on Educational and Institutional lands;
  • Supporting the development of medium density residential development on the UBCO campus;
  • Encouraging the provision of a range of services, particularly access to healthy food, to meet the daily needs of the growing student, employee, and resident population; and
  • Improving connectivity through all modes of transportation.

Policy 6.1.2. Innovation Precinct.
Increase the employment density of industrial land within and adjacent to the Innovation Precinct by supporting more employment-intensive industrial uses and by making more efficient use of underutilized land.

Policy 6.1.3. University Building Heights.
Support low rise and mid-rise buildings as the highest buildings at the UBCO campus where it complies with the Obstacle Limitation Surface as outlined in the Airport Zoning Bylaw.

Policy 6.1.4. University Public Realm.
Support the University of British Columbia in its efforts to provide high quality public spaces as per the Okanagan Campus Plan.

Policy 6.1.5. ALR Lands at UBCO. 
Consider UBCO campus expansion onto Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) lands that have a future land use of Rural - Agricultural & Resource (R-AGR) at such time as a comprehensive campus planning process is complete, in consultation with agricultural stakeholders.

Objective 6.2. Build a complete University South Village Centre.

Policy 6.2.1. Village Centre Commercial Area.
Maximize opportunities for commercial uses and services at grade towards the north end of the University South Village Centre that cannot be accommodated on campus to create a hub of activity between village centre residents and UBCO.

Policy 6.2.2. University South Density.
Encourage medium density residential development in the University South Village Centre to support opportunities to live near the growing employment areas in the Gateway, particularly UBCO and Kelowna International Airport.

Policy 6.2.3. University South Building Heights.
Support low rise buildings as the highest buildings in the University South Village Centre where they comply with the Obstacle Limitation Surface as outlined in the Airport Zoning Bylaw.

Policy 6.2.4. University South School Site.
Support the development of a new school site within the University South Village Centre.

Policy 6.2.5. Car-Oriented Commercial.
Direct large format commercial development to lands designated Regional Commercial to provide easy access to regional vehicle traffic. Do not support such uses in the University South Village Centre or Educational and Institutional lands.

Objective 6.3. Support the strategic and planned growth of Kelowna International Airport as a regional economic generator.

Policy 6.3.1. Kelowna International Airport Master Plan.
Support the continued growth of Kelowna International Airport (YLW), through the implementation of the recommendations in the YLW Airport Master Plan 2045, as amended.

Policy 6.3.2. International Airport Expansion.
Continue to secure land to allow for the expansion and development of Kelowna International Airport as outlined in the YLW Airport Master Plan 2045, as amended.

Policy 6.3.3. Aircraft Noise Impacts.
Prohibit increases in residential density within the NEF 25 contour and above, as illustrated in Map 6.1, to accommodate for growth in aircraft travel from Kelowna International Airport. In addition, new development that falls within the Federal Aviation Zone, as illustrated in Map 6.2, should include upgraded sound proofing and must provide a covenant that saves the City harmless with respect to noise complaints.

Policy 6.3.4. Building Heights Near Airport.
Require that all proposed development projects within the Federal Aviation Zone, as illustrated in Map 6.2, include consultation with Kelowna International Airport, Transport Canada, and NavCanada with respect to building heights as per Airport Zoning Regulations under the authority of the Aeronautics Act.

Policy 6.3.5. ALR Lands at YLW. 
Support the exclusion of ALR lands at YLW, as identified in the YLW Airport Master Plan 2045, in time to allow for airport expansion and development.

Policy 6.3.6. Preservation of ESA Lands at YLW.
Preserve environmentally sensitive areas on YLW lands while not impacting aircraft safety until such time they are needed for YLW expansion and development.

Objective 6.4. Support the continued development of industrial lands.

Policy 6.4.1. Erosion of Industrial Lands.
Discourage the re-designation of industrial lands in the Gateway and ensure their use for industrial purposes to protect employment, production manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and repair functions in the City. This includes limiting residential and commercial uses within industrial areas that promote speculation, which make developing industrial uses challenging.

Policy 6.4.2. Jim Bailey / Beaver Lake Industrial Lands.
Encourage the development of the industrial lands in the vicinity of Jim Bailey Road and Beaver Lake Road, recognizing the unique role that the area plays as a large scale industrial area, by undertaking the following:

  • Encouraging heavy/large format industrial uses in this area, such as manufacturing and warehousing that may not transition well into other Kelowna neighbourhoods;
  • Discouraging the creation of small lot industrial properties;
  • Discouraging integration of residential uses; and
  • Planning for and coordinating the provision of utility and transportation infrastructure to service industrial growth.

Policy 6.4.3. Reid’s Corner.
Support continued development of Reid’s Corner, centered on the intersection of Rutland Road and Old Vernon Road, by encouraging the consolidation of smaller lots into larger properties to facilitate industrial uses. Discourage commercial development, except where it serves the nearby employees of those industrial uses.

Policy 6.4.4. Industrial / Residential Interface.
Require low impact industrial uses where industrial lands are adjacent to residential lands. Such uses should be primarily indoors, have limited outdoor storage and include extensive buffering and screening to reduce impacts on residential neighbourhoods.

Policy 6.4.5. Highway 97 Industrial Orientation.
Design new industrial development that is adjacent to Highway 97 to provide a more attractive façade facing the highway.  Approaches may include greater façade articulation, colour variation, windows and other features that add to the visual interest along the highway corridor.

Policy 6.4.6. Regional Industrial Lands.
Support a regional approach to managing industrial lands, recognizing that industrial business needs are connected across the region, with different local contexts playing unique and important roles.

Policy 6.4.7. Industrial Employment.
Support development of industrial lands in the Gateway, recognizing the important role that industrial activities play in meeting employment and service needs of the city and region.

Objective 6.5. Encourage initiatives in the Gateway that supplement the local food system to increase food security, equitable access to healthy food and social connections.

Policy 6.5.1. Urban Agriculture.
Encourage urban agriculture that uses integrated pest management practices, as a way of supplementing the local food system and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production, processing, and transportation. In the Gateway, support and encourage urban agriculture using approaches that include, but are not limited to:

  • Food production on public and private land including rooftops, beehives, and edible landscaping on residential boulevards, park land, backyards, and rights-of-way;
  • Multi-residential shared gardens and services (i.e. water and storage) in new developments;
  • Private and non-profit sector universally-accessible community gardens, considering the use of City-owned land for use of community gardens where appropriate.

Policy 6.5.2. Land Linking. 
Collaborate with others to increase farming opportunities on City-owned properties. 

Policy 6.5.3. Indigenous Forest Gardens.
Partner with syilx/Okanagan communities to develop, forest gardens that focus on the cultivation of native and culturally important species of plants for food and medicine.

Objective 6.6. Promote greater inclusion and public safety in the Gateway.

Policy 6.6.1. Child Care Spaces.
Support the development of child care spaces including accessible, affordable and inclusive spaces that meet the needs of citizens living or working in the Gateway

Policy 6.6.2. Private Open Space.
Encourage the development of private open space amenities as part of new residential development in the University South Village Centre. In addition, encourage public accessible private open space in industrial and Regional Commercial lands.

Objective 6.7. Protect and preserve agricultural land and its capacity.

Policy 6.7.1. Protect Agricultural Land.
Retain the agricultural land base for the long-term by supporting the ALR and by protecting agricultural lands from urban development and the impacts of adjacent development and redevelopment. 

Policy 6.7.2. Agricultural Land Designation.
Protect and support the continued designation and use of agricultural land for agricultural purposes regardless of soil types and capabilities. Locate agricultural structures to maximize the agricultural potential of prime soil resources.

Policy 6.7.3. ALR Exclusions.
ALR exclusion applications to the ALC will not be considered except where such exclusions are consistent with the generalized Future Land Use Map 3.1 and ALC guidance and conditions.  ALR exclusion applications may be considered as part of a scheduled, comprehensive OCP Bylaw Review or Agriculture Plan Update based on the following factors:

  • Consistency with the goals, objectives and other policies in the 2040 OCP;
  • Does not require the extension of municipal services; and/or
  • Demonstrates a civic need that cannot be provided elsewhere.

Other considerations include the size of the parcel, the percentage of the parcel within the ALR and agricultural capability. Soil capability alone should not be used as justification for exclusion.

Policy 6.7.4. Agri-tourism, Alcohol Production Facilities, Farm Retail Sales.
Support agri-tourism uses that can be proven to be in aid of and directly associated with established farm operations as a primary use. Permit alcohol production facilities and farm retail sales on ALR lands where consistent with existing ALC policies and regulations.

Policy 6.7.5. Non-farm Uses.
Restrict non-farm uses that do not directly benefit agriculture except where such non-farm uses are otherwise consistent with the goals, objectives and other policies of this OCP. Support non-farm use applications on agricultural lands only where approved by the ALC and where the proposed uses:

  • Are consistent with the Zoning Bylaw and the OCP 2040;
  • Provide significant benefits to local agriculture;
  • Do not require the extension of municipal services;
  • Will not utilize productive agricultural lands;
  • Will not preclude future use of the lands for agriculture; and
  • Will not harm adjacent farm operations.

Policy 6.7.6. Subdivision of Agricultural Land.
Maximize the potential for agricultural lands to be used for agriculture by not allowing it to be subdivided into smaller parcels, except where significant positive benefits to agriculture can be demonstrated or in the case of homesite severances approved by the ALC.

Policy 6.7.7. Secondary Suites. 
Secondary suites on ALR lands must be located within a permitted principal dwelling.

Policy 6.7.8. Farm Help Housing.
As a first option, encourage farm help housing to be located within the Permanent Growth Boundary, providing access to amenities for workers. As a second option, accommodation for farm help on agricultural land on the same farm unit, where approved by the ALC, will be considered only when:

  • Agriculture is the principal use on the parcel; and
  • The applicant demonstrates that the on-site housing for farm workers is necessary for the overall operation of the farm. The primary consideration is whether the scale of the farm operation is large enough that permanent help is deemed necessary.

Temporary farm working housing, such as bunkhouse accommodation on non-permanent foundations, is the preferred solution where farm worker housing is justified.

Policy 6.7.9. Homeplating.
Locate buildings and structures, including farm help housing and farm retail sales areas and structures, on agricultural parcels in close proximity to one another and where appropriate, near the existing road frontage.

Policy 6.7.10. Conservation Tools.
Promote the use of conservation programs or covenants on agricultural lands, where approved by the ALC, to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

Policy 6.7.11. Large Scale Alternative Energy on Agricultural Land. 
Prohibit the use of solar farms (photovoltaics) or other large scale alternative energy solutions, developed for the sale of power to third parties, on properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Objective 6.8. Ensure a compatible urban-rural interface.

Policy 6.8.1. Agricultural Land Protection.
Retain the agricultural land base for the long-term by supporting the Agricultural Land Reserve and by protecting agricultural lands from the impacts of adjacent development and redevelopment. 

Policy 6.8.2. Urban-Rural Interface Uses.
Where a property is adjacent to agricultural lands, encourage land uses that are compatible with adjacent agricultural uses. Encourage uses that accommodate vulnerable populations, such as seniors, children and people with health challenges to parcels that are not adjacent to agriculture to limit interface incompatibilities.

Policy 6.8.3. Urban-Rural Buffers.
Where a property is adjacent to the ALR, ensure that development limits associated negative impacts on adjacent agricultural operations by including appropriate buffers, setbacks and site planning, consistent with the Farm Protection Development Permit Guidelines outlined in Chapter 22: Farm Protection Development Permit Area.

Policy 6.8.4. Glenmore Landfill Nuisance Impacts.
Do not support additional urban development and intensification in the landfill impact buffer area, as illustrated in Map 13.8.


2040 OCP - Gateway pillars related to Housing

Kelowna’s Gateway will include housing forms and tenures that support the UBCO campus as well as nearby employment centres, offering greater housing options for students and faculty of UBCO and well as other key employers in the area. This approach focuses on the expansion and protection of rental housing in anticipation of the area becoming one of the main housing hubs for university students, requiring the City to work closely with senior levels of government and UBCO. 

Objective 6.9. Encourage housing forms that support students, faculty and staff of nearby employment centres.

Policy 6.9.1. Student and Faculty Housing.
Encourage the development of residential units that meet the needs of students and UBCO faculty, including units that can accommodate families, such as units with three or more bedrooms.

Policy 6.9.2. Range of Housing Tenure.
Support a range of rental and ownership tenures that support a variety of households and income levels. In addition, support underrepresented forms of tenure, including but not limited to co-housing, fee-simple row housing, co-ops, and rent-to-own.

Policy 6.9.3. Social Connections Through Design.
Encourage housing designs that incorporate spaces that foster social connections and inclusion, such as courtyards and rooftop patios.

Policy 6.9.4. Accessible Design.
Integrate universal design features and principles to create housing options for people of all ages and abilities.

Objective 6.10. Prioritize the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

Policy 6.10.1. Housing Tenure Diversity.
Support the development of rental housing in the Gateway District, within UBCO and the University South Village Centre.

Policy 6.10.2. Protection of Existing Rental Stock.
Ensure retention or replacement of existing rental units as redevelopment occurs in the Gateway through planning tools that include, but are not limited to, Rental Only Zoning and Rental Replacement Obligations.

Policy 6.10.3. Rental Conversion.
Prohibit the conversion of existing residential rental buildings with greater than four units to condominium status when rental vacancy falls below five per cent in Kelowna, unless the conversion is for the purpose of creating affordable rental housing with a Section 219 covenant registered on each strata title.

Policy 6.10.4. Tenant Assistance.
Ensure that tenants displaced by redevelopment are protected through relocation assistance from the developer.

Policy 6.10.5. Short-Term Rentals.
Ensure short-term rental accommodations limits impact on the long-term rental housing supply.


2040 OCP - Gateway pillars related to Transportation

To support the growth of key employment centres in the Gateway, improvements to transportation options for the thousands of employees in the area are needed. New roadway investments will improve access within the district, while maintaining access to Highway 97. At the same time, the Okanagan Rail Trail will continue to be the spine for people walking and biking in the area with future investments targeting improved access and linkages to it. Enhancements to transit service will be vital to support growth of UBCO, while providing low carbon transportation options for the thousands of people working and studying in this area of the City. 

City investments in the area will focus on targeted investments to expand access to Highway 97, the Okanagan Rail Trail and partnerships with UBCO, YLW and BC Transit to extend frequent transit service to major employment centres in the district.

Objective 6.11. Maintain access to goods movement and reduce dependence on the automobile where possible.

Policy 6.11.1. Pedestrian and Biking Connectivity.
With new developments, require dedication of on-site walking and biking paths as outlined in Map 13.3 to provide links to adjacent parks, schools, transit stops, recreation facilities, employment areas and other important activity areas.

Policy 6.11.2. Transit Infrastructure.
Ensure Frequent Transit Network routes are supported by key infrastructure (i.e. transit stops, bus pull out bays, bus shelters, benches, lighting, accessibility features) to achieve transit service goals of UBCO and Kelowna International Airport.

Policy 6.11.3. Frequent Transit.
Invest in a network of frequent transit routes that connect Kelowna International Airport and UBCO with the Core Area and Urban Centres.

Policy 6.11.4. Transit Priority.
Utilize transit priority measures on key corridors to optimize transit travel time on the Frequent Transit Network.

Policy 6.11.5. Kelowna International Airport.
Recognize the regional role that YLW has in transporting goods and people in and out of the region and beyond as a significant driver of the regional business economy.

Policy 6.11.6. Highway 97.
Recognize the regional role that Highway 97 plays as both a higher capacity transit corridor and goods and services transportation link between Kelowna and its business markets.

Policy 6.11.7. Road Capacity Increases.
Prioritize the removal of on street parking over land acquisition when exploring road capacity increases, with due consideration of the road’s character and function.

Objective 6.12. Develop a well-connected supporting street network to facilitate travel by alternate modes and reduce reliance on Highway 97.

Policy 6.12.1. Transportation Networks.
Ensure transportation networks support continued success and future expansion of key employment areas, such as UBCO and Kelowna International Airport. Seek enhancements in transit service, biking infrastructure and other sustainable modes of transportation in conjunction with planned roadway investments in the Gateway District.

Policy 6.12.2. Street Network.
Enhance street network connectivity and redundancy to support diverse transportation options and make it easier to access the surrounding major road network.

Policy 6.12.3. Safe Crossing.
Create safe and accessible pedestrian crossings for all ages and abilities at key intersections on collectors and arterials.

Policy 6.12.4. Street Tree Linkages.
Within the Gateway, prioritize the installation of trees in as part of boulevards in the University South Village Centre and the Innovation District to maximize pedestrian and cyclist comfort for trips to and from the University.

Objective 6.13. Make the Highway 97 corridor a more attractive entry point for the City.

Policy 6.13.1. Highway 97 Beautification.
Partner with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to advance beautification efforts along Highway 97 near UBCO and Kelowna International Airport, recognizing that these areas represent key entry points to the City.

Policy 6.13.2. Traditional Territory Welcome.
Consider the use of artistic elements to signal to citizens and visitors that they are in the traditional territory of syilx/Okanagan people.

Objective 6.14. Protect and enhance the Okanagan Rail Trail as a vital transportation corridor linking communities in the Okanagan Valley.

Policy 6.14.1. Okanagan Rail Trail Protection.  
Ensure the long-term protection of the Okanagan Rail Trail by not permitting encumbrances within the Okanagan Rail Trail corridor, including but not limited to: crossings, utilities, stormwater management.  

Objective 6.15. Maintain safe roads that support agricultural uses.

Policy 6.15.1. Trucking Routes. 
Recognize major trucking routes that support larger processing and production in agricultural areas as outlined in Map 13.4.

Policy 6.15.2. Service Corridors. 
Minimize the impact of road and utility corridors through agricultural lands, using only those lands necessary and to the maximum capacity prior to seeking new corridors.  Ensure provisions are made for farm traffic to cross major roads.

Objective 6.16. Adapt and respond to shifting long-term demand for parking facilities.

Policy 6.16.1. Parking Facilities. 
Investigate opportunities to develop shared parking options between UBCO and Kelowna International Airport.

Policy 6.16.2. Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations.
Provide public access to electric vehicle charging stations in strategic locations.

Policy 6.16.3. Parking Management.
Introduce parking management strategies coupled with Transportation Demand Management (TDM) approaches to encourage greater uptake of sustainable transportation options.

Policy 6.16.4. Parking Relaxations.
Consider parking requirement relaxations where projects provide a robust Transportation Demand Management strategy (e.g. transit passes, bicycle end-of-trip facilities) and are well served by the Frequent Transit Network and the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Objective 6.17. Adapt and respond to emerging transportation technologies.

Policy 6.17.1. Shared Mobility Programs.
Continue to support pilots and partnerships to improve access to emerging on-demand mobility options that reduce greenhouse gases and enhance sustainable transportation options.

Policy 6.17.2. Emerging Transportation Technology. 
Work with other levels of government and industry to leverage potential of emerging transportation technologies (self-driving, ride-hailing etc.)  to reduce congestion and greenhouse gases and support the transition away from a car centric culture. 

Policy 6.17.3. Electric Vehicle Charging in New Development.
Integrate electric vehicle charging stations in off-street parking plans for new multi-family, institutional and commercial developments.


2040 OCP - Gateway pillars related to Culture

Culture builds social connections and reinforces a sense of place. As culture emerges and develops, it generates a unique identity that impacts the lives of citizens and visitors. With the Gateway acting as one of the main entry points to Kelowna and a major post-secondary destination, it is important that culture be captured within the built environment through both artistic innovation and creative expression.

Objective 6.18. Encourage artistic innovation and creative expression in the built environment across both the private and public sectors.

Policy 6.18.1. Public Art Promotion.
Promote public art that celebrates the culture and diversity of Kelowna. Seek opportunities to partner and collaborate with Westbank First Nation and Okanagan Indian Band on public art and placemaking initiatives that acknowledge and celebrate their traditional territory and cultural values.

Policy 6.18.2. Showcase Art in New Development.
Expand public art as an integral part of urban design and development within the Gateway District. Encourage public art in conjunction with major public and private development.  

Policy 6.18.3. Welcoming Artwork.
Emphasize the Gateway’s role as an entry point to the City by both land and air by encouraging artwork that welcomes people to the City. Celebrate the traditional territory of the syilx/Okanagan people by incorporating the traditional Nsyilexcen language.