Bernard revitalization offers some exciting changes

First off, I want to let you know about a change in the dates when my column will appear.

Due to the change in publication dates for the Capital News, you’ll now be able to find this column on the first Tuesday of every month, instead of the first Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I’m very honoured to have been asked by the city to attend the downtown planning charrettes that were held during the week of June 6 to 10.

It was an exciting experience to be part of planning for downtown’s future.

The group that I worked with was very diverse and thoughtful.

Much respect was shown for the varied opinions expressed at the charrettes, and the city is to be applauded for all the effort it put into ensuring that things ran smoothly.

Kudos to our hardworking staff at City Hall!

The results of the charrettes were presented to council on June 27, and were met with overwhelming support.

For more info on these plans, check out

I’m also thrilled to have recently been elected to the Downtown Kelowna Association board of directors.

I look forward to working with the board towards making downtown an even more fabulous place over the next two years.

Big, positive changes are slated to happen in our downtown starting in the spring of 2012.

That’s when the city plans to start the  Bernard Avenue Revitalization project, which will involve widening the sidewalks, adding trees and greenspace, and creating a much more pedestrian-friendly environment on the street.

Many planning sessions were held over the past year, as the city invited downtown property and business owners to become involved by attending workshops and sharing their opinions.

The sessions resulted in a plan which now has to be approved by at least 51 per cent of Bernard Avenue property owners.

I really hope this plan goes through, because it will be a catalyst for more positive changes downtown.

Although property owners are being asked by the city to ante up for a portion of the work, it’s an investment that will pay off in spades for all of us.

So let’s step up to the plate and start the move toward a new, improved downtown!

Food lovers will be happy to hear about some new spots downtown.

We have a new Subway at the corner of Queensway and Pandosy. Reports are that it’s been busy since the day it opened.

There’s also a new Chopped Leaf, serving salads, wraps and soups, at 243 Bernard Ave. I love their slogan: “Making the world greener, one salad at a time.”

And you may have noticed that the old Pantry Restaurant building on the north side of Harvey has now been beautifully renovated and turned into the new premises of the Dragon King Restaurant.

When you get a craving for an Asian meal, you’ll definitely want to check out this newly renovated spot.

Have you heard about the new Live After 5 Concert Series at the Rotary Centre for the Arts? From 5 to 7 p.m. every Thursday evening in July and August, there will be free concerts in the RCA atrium featuring some of our best home-grown talent.

It’s an informal, intimate setting where you can just drop in for a few songs or stay for the whole show.

The cafe at the RCA will also be open for food and beverages.

What a nice way to spend a summer evening—savouring live local music and a glass of wine, then meandering along the waterfront to shop or have dinner.

Can’t wait to experience this new downtown tradition.

Until next time, I hope you get out to enjoy that beautiful sunshine, and I’ll see you downtown!

Jan Johnson has co-owned Tigerlily Fashions downtown for 24 years now. If you have any news about downtown shop openings and/or events, please email them to her at


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