City to encourage mixed-use residential development on motel and hotel property – Kamloops News
Photo: Staff of Castanet
Kamloops City Council has voted to pass a bylaw encouraging the construction of multi-family or mixed-use residential developments on former hotels or motels.
The Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw will provide a 100% tax exemption over 10 years for city properties where former hotels or motels are removed and replaced with a multi-family or mixed-use development.
Earlier this year, the board sent the bylaw back to staff for further research and refinement because the measure could lead to a reduction in hotel room inventory in Kamloops.
Staff said in June that the city’s engagement group — made up of developers, residents and other representatives — supported the settlement.
Com. Kathy Sinclair voiced her support for the settlement at the July 19 board meeting.
“We have a housing crisis in our city like we’ve never seen in history, and it’s also the case across the province. A basic need is housing. This is one thing we can do to improve the housing situation, and I wholeheartedly agree,” Sinclair said.
Com. Denis Walsh expressed concern about the settlement because he thinks it should be more defined, targeting specific parts of Kamloops for shorter periods.
“We are looking at allowing city-wide, all hotels and motels to redevelop as multi-family. And I just think it’s ill-advised to make such a broad and permanent tax exemption on something so critical. We’re in the property tax business, which pays for pretty much all of our services,” Walsh said.
“I’d rather see it as real revitalization, and you say, ‘Okay, this is the area of town that we think needs revitalization,’ but not the whole town.”
Marvin Kwiatkowski, the city’s director of development, engineering and sustainability, said the bylaw doesn’t just apply to multi-family redevelopment, but a replacement building could be mixed-use, including hotel or commercial spaces.
Kwiatkowski said staff felt the focus was on identifying the West Columbia corridor for such improvements, but they didn’t want to eliminate any opportunities in Valleyview or downtown Kamloops.
“We really see it to rejuvenate certain specific areas, but again it’s not just one area, we want it to be a bit broader. If we see results in the next five years, we can always pull that off,” Kwiatkowski said.
He said staff expects to come back with metrics for the council in two to three years to determine the effectiveness of the revitalization tax exemption settlement.
Council voted to pass the bylaw, with Walsh and Mayor Ken Christian opposing it.