Entertainment

Opinion: Kelowna should embrace the giant hotel project for its standout features

A $65 million, 24-storey hotel is being proposed for the base of Queensway, in the old Willow Inn site.  - Contributed
A $65 million, 24-storey hotel is being proposed for the base of Queensway, in the old Willow Inn site.
— image credit: Contributed

What better occasion to discuss plans to erect a giant phallus on Kelowna's waterfront than Valentine's Day?

It's a day when emotions are supposed to run hot, and plans for a sexy $65 million, 24-storey hotel at the base of Queensway are bound to heat things up in the city.

Project proponents will offer seemingly sensible talk about how it will be a boon to the economy and simultaneously create a vibrant central hub in the downtown.

The detractors…well, we know the Legion of No by now, don't we Kelowna?

They'll speak of green space, old-timey Okanagan values, height, mass and the worth of never changing.

Their battle cries will ring out in front of City Hall during at least one public hearing, as the Seemingly Sensibles roll their eyes.

Their cries are a good thing, actually. Every city needs a backbone, and there have been a few projects that but-for-the-recoil-from-their-forceful "no," may have really twisted the character of the city.

That insanely ornate CD-21 Zone plan that aimed to turn downtown Kelowna into a sea of skyscrapers, comes to mind.

The question remains, however, whether the sharpened arrows of the reliable contingent of naysayers will fell a project with actual merit.

It's still early days for the Westcorp proposal. But thus far, plans show a compelling picture of what further downtown revitalization could amount to. It also seems like the proposed hotel is more fitting with what Kelowna has become in the last four years.

Since the death of the CD-21 Zone, a series of projects have slowly morphed the downtown and waterfront area into something far more compelling than the dodgy business that was.

Bernard Avenue's wider sidewalks, new lighting fixtures and altered parking system are lovely.

The waterfront pier—beautiful. That Stuart Park ice-rink is an absolute dream. Romance actually blooms there. Seriously, if you haven't been privy to at least one proposal on ice, then you're not going enough.

So, it strikes me that  development, phallic looking or not, which creates more space for people to enjoy our downtown and our natural amenities is something we should all be smitten with.

But then again, maybe I'm just caught up in the spirit of Valentine's Day.

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