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Kelowna ready to start expansion of Stuart Park

Kelowna city staff say work is expected to start on an expansion of Stuart Park on the downtown lakeshore in February.

The  $2 million second phase of the park will improve the existing waterfront walkway north of the open-air ice rink across from City Hall, demolish the existing Kelowna Yacht Club building as soon as the club’s new facility is completed and turn the existing yacht club parking lot into grassed parkland.

The man in charge of city parks projects, Andrew Gibbs, told council Monday the plan is to have the new-look walkway ready for public use by the Canada Day weekend next July and the grass areas complete by next September.

The project is to include firepits and walkways connecting Water Street to the lakeshore promenade, as well as the grassed areas, but could have other amenities added in future.

“You had me at firepits,” joked Coun. Luke Stack, who led council in praising the plan and voting to proceed with it.

While a contractor will work on the upland portion of the park, as well as rebuilding the walkway to match the existing promenade in front of the existing portion of Stuart Park, city crews will handle the demolition of the old yacht club building—a city-owned structure—and the existing stretch of walkway between the ice rink and the Water Street boat launch, said Gibbs.

Stuart Park has proven to be a popular spot with the public since it opened a few years ago.

With its iconic Bear sculpture and public ice rink in the winter, it has become a gathering point for locals and tourists.

The area continues the city’s plan for parkland along the entire downtown stretch of Kelowna, from the Bennett Bridge to the Rotary Marshes at the north end of the downtown waterfront.

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