Business supports Westbank, where’s city hall?

Twenty-five years from now Westbank town centre will be a thriving, unique, walkable, transit-oriented and highly attractive urban place.

To the editor:

Twenty-five years from now, as some local visionaries predict, Westbank  town centre will be a thriving, unique, walkable, transit-oriented and highly attractive urban place. (Close-up: Constructing Westbank’s Heart, Oct. 12 Capital News)

A few investors are buying into that vision. Two developments are currently being constructed on Brown Road for approximately $100 million.

Jamie Cooper, one of the developers, is committed to this vision. He is responsible for the $70 million Gateway Urban Village project.

Adjacent to Cooper’s development is the Heritage, a 145-unit, assisted living facility, currently under construction.

Next to the Heritage, Investicare Seniors Housing Corporation is planning a state of the art medical services campus that could begin construction as early as the summer of 2013.

Rick Reece, investor and developer of the Heritage, states: “I think both projects fit in well with the redevelopment and brings some very high paying, and some very stable jobs into the centre of Westbank, which contributes to the overall economy of the town centre.”

Very well put, Mr. Reece.

After spending our district tax dollars on the Westbank Town Centre Revitalization Plan, why is our council looking to the province to provide Crown land for administration buildings, while ignoring the recommendation of the Westbank Town Centre Revitalization Plan?

What kind of message is our council sending to our citizens when the municipal hall is situated in a remote area of our district and not easily accessible to the general public?

Other Okanagan communities, even the smaller towns like Peachland and Summerland, have their town halls in their economic centres. Westbank is the heart of our economic centre in our district.

In September 2010 council appointed a nine-member Westbank Centre Consultation Committee to assist District of West Kelowna staff in the development of a realistic downtown Westbank Revitalization Plan. The objectives of the revitalization plan included:

• To preserve, protect and enhance the Westbank town centre urban and agricultures, cultures and heritage, while creating a place to live work and play

• A transparent, inclusive process involving local businesses, residents and the development community.

Three workshops were conducted with the committee and a few of the principle issues that were identified are:

• Create a civic and cultural precinct: new City Hall, library, theatre, community centre, etc. and

• Relocate District Hall to Westbank Town Centre.

Our citizens were very excited about the revitalization plan. It is a good plan, and if adhered to, will help bring more people to our downtown that will help support our Westbank Town Centre business owners.

We already have a library, museum, police station and community centre, so why not a City Hall?

Gordon Ficke,

president,

Historic Westbank Association