2040 Official Community Plan

Equitable Community

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Last Updated: 
January 10, 2022
2040 OCP - Chapter 9 - Equitable Community chapter header, image of Kelowna waterfront at night

2040 OCP - Equitable Communities Pillar

The City of Kelowna is moving towards an equity-based approach to city-building. This means that access to City resources such as parks, public transit, and community services are matched with citizens' needs. Equity is an important priority because it will help to ensure that everyone has the same access to opportunities and advancement. Equity-related policies are included below and throughout the rest of the OCP, including implementation actions in Chapter 16: Making the Plan Work. The OCP provides the foundation to start working on equity, but more detailed direction will come from future plans and policies, such as an Equity Strategy.   

An equity-based approach recognizes that some citizens are more likely to benefit from additional support, and that in the past resources have not always been distributed fairly. For example, lower-income citizens may need more access to affordable public transit to get to their jobs, whereas higher-income citizens are more likely to have a vehicle they can use to get to work. In this case, providing better public transit service in the lower-income neighbourhood could be an equitable way to distribute resources. Overall, using an equity-based approach will help the City target investments where they will have the biggest impact.   

One of the first actions that we plan to undertake is an equity analysis. An equity analysis will provide information about inequities in Kelowna and the needs of equity-seeking groups such as Indigenous people, people experiencing homelessness, women, racialized communities, LGBTQ2+ communities, veterans and people with disabilities. From there, we will develop an equity strategy and determine the City’s role in providing the resources that equity-seeking groups need. This will inform future projects as the OCP is implemented over the next 20 years.

Importantly, the City is committed to establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship with the syilx/Okanagan people. The City will advance reconciliation through 2040 OCP implementation by partnering with local Indigenous communities. Like the approach to equity, policies related to strengthening our relationship with Indigenous communities are included below but also woven throughout the 2040 OCP. 

Objective 9.1. Incorporate equity into planning decisions and resource allocation in our community.

Policy 9.1.1. Equity in Planning Decisions. 
Incorporate an equity lens into land-use planning decisions and resource allocation in our community.

Policy 9.1.2. Equity Analysis and Strategy.
Undertake a City-wide equity analysis and develop a subsequent strategy to inform decision-making processes related to planning and resource allocation in the community.  

Policy 9.1.3. Equitable Allocation of Resources. 
Incorporate an equity lens into allocation of City resources to build City-wide equity as well as neighbourhood resiliency and inclusivity.

Objective 9.2. Strengthen the relationship with the syilx/Okanagan people through initiatives and processes to advance and support reconciliation in Kelowna.

Policy 9.2.1. Truth and Reconciliation.
Where possible, apply an Indigenous lens when undertaking 2040 OCP implementation actions with knowledge of syilx/Okanagan history, and with consideration of documents such as the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Policy 9.2.2. syilx/Okanagan Approach to Social Challenges.
Collaborate with syilx/Okanagan people to support initiatives that address social issues rooted in the impacts of residential school system, such as housing, transportation and food security, in a way that recognizes the traditions, knowledge, wisdom and governance of syilx people.

Objective 9.3. Develop diverse partnerships to advance complex social planning issues and increase community wellbeing.

Policy 9.3.1. Government Partnerships.
Pursue joint use agreements and partnerships with Indigenous communities, other levels of government and educational institutions to advance complex social planning issues, community health, and economic prosperity.

Policy 9.3.2. Stakeholder Involvement.
Involve a broad range of interests identifying solutions for emerging issues, including citizens, businesses, non-profits, major institutions, and utility providers, with a particular effort given to involving those typically not engaged in community decisions. 

Policy 9.3.3. Seldom Heard Voices. 
Engage the community regularly in municipal decision-making,  with emphasis on including  voices that are seldom heard, members of equity-seeking groups, and those who are going to be impacted by the decision.  

Policy 9.3.4. Regional Approach to Social Issues.
Collaborate with local governments and key stakeholders to support initiatives that address regional issues such as social, childcare, transportation, housing, and food security.

Policy 9.3.5. Coordination of Services.
Collaborate with all levels of government and community organizations to support integrated planning and coordination of a continuum of health and wellness amenities, recreation programs and facilities, mental health, social and addiction services and care.

Policy 9.3.6. Poverty Reduction and Community Wellbeing.
Form partnerships to engage in and support poverty reduction and community wellbeing efforts to address social issues including homelessness, affordable housing, childcare costs and household food insecurity.

Objective 9.4. Ensure that all community members are safe and included.

Policy 9.4.1. Personal and Collective Safety. 
Work with community members and partners to support solutions to matters of public safety. Acknowledge and address unique safety concerns experienced by members of equity-seeking groups.

Policy 9.4.2. Systemic Racism. 
Seek to understand how systemic racism has and continues to impact our community. Use these learnings to ensure that OCP implementation activities are inclusive and representative of our community.

Policy 9.4.3. Embrace Diversity.
Look for opportunities to implement the OCP in a way that celebrates Kelowna's growing diversity. Consider the needs of all equity-seeking groups, those who are new to Kelowna, and community members of all cultures.