The city council of Vernon, British Columbia, has sent plans for a major redevelopment of the former Kin Racecourse site back to the drawing board.
The town wants to improve recreational facilities on the site of the old horse trail, but council was largely unhappy with the preliminary designs for the project.
During a lengthy discussion at Monday’s city council meeting, the council demanded an overhaul and issued guidelines that would see the land developed as an athletics park rather than general-purpose park space.
Vernon, BC Seeking Public Comment on Kin Race Track‘s New ‘Flagship’ Park
Council also rejected what had been a key element of the initial preliminary designs they were considering: space for approximately 330 units of affordable or feasible housing.
Some councilors have argued that although they support more housing in general, the Kin Race Track site is not the right space for a housing development.
“This will take away valuable land space for the future growth of our sports community,” Councilor Kari Gares said.
Other council members supported keeping affordable housing in the plans.
“Affordable and accessible housing is the single greatest need our community has faced in the last five or six years and it will be for a long time, so saying no would be devastating,” Councilor Kelly Fehr said.
Council members who support affordable housing at the site argued that the Kin Race Track site is an appropriate location for housing as it is close to shopping and employment centres.
Amid housing crisis, Vernon rejects spreads for controversial apartment complex
Proponents also felt that having residents live adjacent to the park would avoid some of the security issues that have developed at other Vernon parks.
Gasoline prices continue to hit new highs. Here’s how to save at the pump
Wearing a mask is a ‘personal choice’ as COVID-19 measures ease: PHAC
Councilors who have spoken out against affordable housing on the site have argued that the city could find other space for housing projects, but there are few, if any, other places that could accommodate large facilities. Recreation.
Opponents also argued that the site was too close to the outskirts of the city and therefore did not make sense for densification.
Vernon moves forward with Kin Race Track redevelopment
In a split decision, council ultimately voted to exclude affordable housing from the redesigned plan for the Kin Race Track site.
As accommodation is sold out, the council voted to include in future plans for the site a skate park, dog park, footpath and space for a third ice cap, linked to the existing Kal Tire arena Square.
The site redesign is also expected to include space for the proposed active living center pool complex.
A referendum on the Active Living Center is expected to take place in the fall.
Vernon’s Kin Race Track development could include swimming pool, housing
The Kin Race Track project was supposed to immediately return to another round of public consultation, but the redesign will likely delay that.
Details on the impact of the redesign of the preliminary concept plans on public consultation and the timing of the project will be presented at the next meeting of the municipal council.
Preliminary concept plans, which the council asked to be redesigned, included proposals like an amphitheater, fishing pond, swimming pond, climbing walls and a toboggan run.
The redesign of the Kin Race Track site should also include an overhaul of the area around Kal Tire Place.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.