006: Colin Basran Answers: Should Kelowna’s Housing Grow Up or Grow Out?

Scott Peckford visits Kelowna City Hall to speak with Mayor Colin Basran. Scott asks about Colin’s opinions on urban densification in Kelowna, how you should buy/sell in this market, whether Kelowna’s housing developments should grow up or grow out, his plan for fewer cars on Kelowna roads, foreign buyers, and his thoughts on another bridge across Okanagan Lake, and whether it should by-pass Kelowna.

Colin’s First Property Buy

Colin’s first purchase was a brand new condo in Penticton. He and his wife lived the fun and stress of deciding on all the fixtures and features. They sold right before 2008 slowdown, and transitioned to a single family home.

Advice for buyers, don’t call the real estate agent on the sign.

Limited Dual Agency

Uptick in Development

  • More development permits in first quarter 2016 – $130M of development permits approved.
  • That’s the most since 2000.
  • A large increase in 2015 – more multi-family starts than single-family starts.
  • Council encouraging better use of property, urban infill, and around urban town centres.


  • Encouraging the splitting of large lots to fit more than one house.
  • Encourage people to live where services are already located.
  • Newer neighbourhoods are costly – sewer, water, and other infrastructure costs are handed down to buyers.

Infill Shifts Lifestyles Away From Cars

  • People will drive their cars less, and choose transit, walking, cycling.
  • Densify existing neighbourhoods, rather than urban sprawl.
  • Secondary suites legalized in all neighbourhoods the previous council term.

What’s Kelowna City Council Doing To Encourage Infill?

  • recognize people want to be in existing neighbourhoods, shopping, parks, town centres
  • tax breaks on improvements of properties. Renos or teardowns are taxed at old property values and rates for the next 1o years.
  • “Catering to developers”? Realize that developers build.
  • set zoning for multi-family in town centres
  • Council is concerned about keeping Kelowna housing attainable
  • City of Kelowna’s Urban Infill Challenge
  • Council is concerned about the rental vacancy rate.
  • Kelowna needs 300 new rental units to keep up with demand
  • 2015 saw 300+ new rental units, and 2016 following strong
  • rental housing grants to developers to encourage building of rental units
  • micro-suites in Kelowna

Foreign Buyers in Kelowna?

  • division of ‘us’ and ‘them’
  • Kelowna seeing some foreign investment, no concern at this time
  • learn from Vancouver and Toronto, and tailor-make a solution for Kelowna

Another Bridge Across Okanagan Lake?

  • 2nd crossing is a Province of B.C. matter
  • public open houses
  • by-pass? Unlikely. Only 4% of the Bennett bridge traffic is pass-through.
  • focus on moving people, and not moving vehicles

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More About Colin Basran

About your host

Chad Weninger

I have been a mortgage broker for 10 years and have held several different positions within the industry to get me to where I am today. Over the years I have helped many families achieve the goal of home ownership as well as save thousands in finding the right mortgage for their needs.