It’s no secret that Kelowna’s real estate sector is booming, but even people from other provinces are starting to notice.
An Ontario environmental engineer-in-training, who has for years focused on visualizing expansion rates in different Canadian cities, took special note of Kelowna.
In studying the city, Eric MacMillan said Kelowna seemed to ‘spring out of nowhere’.
“I was on a Kelowna section of a development forum online and I started seeing all these developments. And I just thought ‘wow, this small little city nestled in the Okanagan is just going crazy with their density’.”
Given that Canada seems to be a real estate hot spot currently, MacMillan wanted to see what that looks like in terms of developments, starting off with the City of Mississauga. He became interested in 3D modelling while he was completing his undergraduate degree. He uses this technique to visualize these changes.
Since his first model of Mississauga, he has since done renderings of what Halifax, Ottawa, Barrie, Niagara Falls, Hamilton, London, Windsor, Saskatoon and Kelowna will look like in about ten years.
His models focus on how the boom in residential construction is impacting smaller cities.
In studying Kelowna, MacMillan learned that it makes more sense to grow up, rather than out.
“I saw that it makes more sense to grow up instead of sprawl out like other cities. You guys just have such limited land out there,” he said.
MacMillan said while he went through approved developments in Kelowna, one shouldn’t take his rendering as a fully accurate picture of the city’s future skyline.
James Moore is the City of Kelowna’s long-range policy planning manager and he said MacMillan’s model is a reasonable expectation of what the city will look like in roughly ten years.
“It’s never quite certain or a hundred percent clear and we’re not always sure if (the skyline) will turn out the way it looks like in the model,” Moore said.
“This is a reasonable guess, but Kelowna actually grows mostly on the conservative side.”
Moore said that even though MacMillan rendered mostly approved sites, some of those developments may actually fall through and not get built. He added that even though it may seem like there is a lot of building going on, the changes shown in MacMillan’s rendering actually take time to unfold.
“Certainly, we expect that in the next 20 years, Kelowna will do more growing up than out,” he said.
“But this is a great tool to engage people with what the city will look like.”