To the editor:
Re: Why I oppose any proposed highrise in downtown Kelowna. (Hotel Proposal Gets Initial Nod from Council, May 13 Capital News.)
Innsbruck, Austria is known for its history and magnificent scenery. What is, perhaps, less obvious, is the wisdom of numerous city councils who have contributed to the city’s popularity by creating a pedestrian (and public transit) only downtown.
Furthermore, all building renovations, as well as new constructions in the core of the city are limited to the same height as the adjoining, often several hundred year-old heritage buildings.
In Innsbruck, and in many other European tourist destinations, highrises are delegated to the periphery, thus instilling a sense of stability and good governance in the unsuspecting visitors who mostly roam the downtowns.
Why then does Kelowna city council wish to reinvent the wheel and diverge from a concept which has been largely successful in countless European tourist destinations?
Granted, the additional income from the numerous permits, fees and taxes for such mega projects, is a welcome relief to the city’s taxpayers, thus, possibly, holding their property taxes to a minimum increase, but once the quaint city image has been altered, if not destroyed, we cannot return.
Even the current highrises, which may appear offensive to a picturesque city concept, are still only half as tall, as the newest proposed oddity.
Therefore, I urge the Kelowna city council to put a long-term vision ahead of immediate financial gains.