|City of West Kelowna|
|Regional district||Central Okanagan|
|December 6, 2007|
|Name change||January 30, 2009|
|Incorporated (city)||June 26, 2015|
|• Mayor||Doug Findlater|
|• Total||123.53 km2 (47.70 sq mi)|
|Elevation||484 m (1,588 ft)|
|• Density||264.4/km2 (685/sq mi)|
|• 2016 pop. est.||34,930|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
West Kelowna is a city in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. The city encompasses several distinct communities including historic Westbank, Glenrosa, Smith Creek, Shannon Lake, Rose Valley, West Kelowna Estates, Casa Loma, and Lakeview Heights. West Kelowna had a population of 32,655 in the 2016 census.
West Kelowna was originally incorporated on December 6, 2007, as Westside District Municipality, so-named because it was the name of the regional district rural electoral area at the time. On January 30, 2009, the district was renamed West Kelowna. The municipality was reclassified as the City of West Kelowna on June 26, 2015. The general area is also sometimes referred to as "Westbank".
Westside District Municipality came into existence on December 6, 2007, following a June 16, 2007 referendum in which Westside residents voted to incorporate by a margin of 5,924 votes to 5,582. The other choice was amalgamation with the City of Kelowna, with a previous question on the ballot offering the option of remaining unincorporated within the regional district's Westside electoral area. The vote was split along highly geographical lines with voters from Westbank, Glenrosa and other areas farther away from the City of Kelowna more often voting to incorporate and voters living closer to Kelowna typically choosing amalgamation.
On November 15, 2008, Doug Findlater was elected the new mayor of West Kelowna, succeeding the municipality's first mayor Rosalind Neis, who had served an initial one-year term. Neis opted not to run for a second term as mayor, choosing instead to run for a seat as a councillor. Neis is currently one of six councilors serving with Findlater.
During the November 2008 civic election, Westside residents were also asked in a "Community Opinion Vote" to select a permanent name for the fledgling municipality. The new name of West Kelowna, with 3,841 votes, was selected by a narrow margin over the closest contender, Westbank, with 3,675 votes. The West Kelowna name was subsequently confirmed by the district council on December 9, 2008. The controversial new name became official on January 30, 2009 after the Government of British Columbia approved the change.
The City of West Kelowna is located on the central western shores of Okanagan Lake and is the primary gateway to the Central Okanagan from the west via HIghway 97C, the Okanagan Connector.
Neighbourhoods within the city's jurisdiction include Westbank, Gellatly, Glenrosa, Shannon Lake, and Smith Creek in the south, which comprise approximately half of the total population, along with several other communities in the north, including Casa Loma, West Kelowna Estates, Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, Sunnyside and South Boucherie. Many of these neighbourhoods, including Glenrosa, Westbank, Gellatly, Sunnyside and Lakeview Heights have rich histories, some dating back to the early to mid 1800s.
Adjacent to the City of West Kelowna's boundaries are the District of Peachland, Central Okanagan West Electoral Area and two self-governing reserves of the Westbank First Nation, Tsinstikeptum 9 and Tsinstikeptum 10. Approximately 9,000 non-band members and 800 First Nation Westbank band members live on the reserves.
|Source: Statistics Canada|
In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of West Kelowna recorded a population of 32,655 living in 12,437 of its 13,190 total private dwellings, a change of 5.7% from its revised 2011 population of 30,902. With a land area of 123.53 km2 (47.70 sq mi), it had a population density of 264.3/km2 (684.7/sq mi) in 2016.
Traditional shopping areas in West Kelowna are Westbank Centre, Lakeview Heights Shopping Centre, Boucherie Centre and the West Kelowna Business Park, offering a variety of retail outlets, cafes and restaurants and tourist accommodations and attractions. The City of West Kelowna also boasts a scenic Wine Trail; nearly a dozen wineries with world renowned wines line the route. The City of West Kelowna also boasts a Farm Loop, featuring varied local agricultural products, and the Gellalty Bay multi-use corridor, which includes the award winning CNR Wharf Aquatic Park.
More than 1,600 business operate in the city of West Kelowna ranging from small home based businesses employing one or two people to major employers such as Gorman Bros. Lumber and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.
The City of West Kelowna's business areas are also complemented by those in the Westbank First Nation, offering various retail shops and cafes, services and tourist accommodations and attractions.
West Kelowna is located within School District 23 Central Okanagan. Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School serves Grades 10 through 12, and is the only high school in the municipality. As well, West Kelowna has two middle schools, serving Grades 7 through 9: Constable Neil Bruce Middle School and Glenrosa Middle School. There are eight elementary schools in the municipality: Hudson Road Elementary School Rose Valley Elementary School Chief Tomat Elementary School Shannon Lake Elementary School, George Pringle Elementary School, Glenrosa Elementary School, Helen Gorman Elementary School, and Sensisyusten House of Learning. Post-secondary educational opportunities are available in the nearby City of Kelowna including two major public institutions: UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College.
Recreation and culture
The Mount Boucherie Community Centre offers Royal LePage Place arena, home to the BCHL team the West Kelowna Warriors, and Jim Lind Arena for ice sport clubs such as hockey, figure skating and ringette. Many residents enjoy a lakefront walking trail alongside Gellatly Road and several swimming areas along Okanagan Lake, including Willow Beach. Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre, in downtown Westbank, offers public swimming and recreational programs. Several community and regional parks are scattered throughout the municipality, offering soccer pitches, ball fields, children's play areas and hiking trails. The award winning Constable Neil Bruce Soccer Fields are also a popular recreational destination. The municipality also funds youth and seniors centres in downtown Westbank. A community garden, pergola and two off-leash dog parks are located in the Westbank Town Centre Park off Hebert Road. Crystal Ski Resort is located west of the municipality and is about a 15 minute drive from the downtown core. Telemark Cross Country Ski Club is located next to the ski resort. There are two golf courses in the municipality – Shannon Lake Golf Course and Two Eagles Golf Course. Culturally, the area offers has no theatre or major art gallery, though a few smaller galleries sell works by local artists and potters.
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