Letter: Objections to tourism centre on waterfront

Kelowna council can oppose rezoning due to obvious commercial uses of the site and its responsibility to uphold the Simpson Covenant.

To the editor:

Kelowna taxpayers have many social, economic and environmental reasons to vigorously oppose plans by Tourism Kelowna to rezone waterfront land at the foot of Queensway for a two-storey, 5,000-sq-ft commercial building.

First, Tourism Kelowna’s site belongs to city taxpayers. It is public land specified under the Simpson Covenant and cannot be used for commercial or industrial uses. Tourism Kelowna masquerades as a non-profit Society while actively engaging in marketing and promotion for its local tourism industry members to increase revenue and profit. This is not a bad thing, but claiming the site will not be used for commercial uses is a public deception. Tourism Kelowna cannot hide the fact it represents commercial interests and will use the site to contravene the social contract specified in the Covenant.

Second, Tourism Kelowna plans to rezone the site to a zone that allows both public (tourist) and commercial (tourism industry) uses. Kelowna council has recently supported similar deceptive rezoning schemes to lease and “privatize” valuable public waterfront parklands for commercial uses for the Kelowna Yacht Club, the Cactus Club restaurant and the Kelowna Paddle Club. Council provides no economic analyses of these rezoning schemes prior to a public hearing. Inspection of lease agreements reveals taxpayers receive little or no economic benefits compared to the value of the land given up.

Third, it is impossible to justify any public benefits from constructing a two-storey, 5,000 square foot commercial building on a prime piece of public waterfront parkland in downtown Kelowna. In fact, Tourism Kelowna hasn’t even tried. There are only public costs arising from the loss of valuable waterfront parkland; the likelihood that this loss will never be replaced; the likelihood that this site will be expanded in the future; the loss of public access to the water; and the loss of public views of lake and valley vistas. Tourism Kelowna will also create traffic, parking, noise and air pollution issues from tourist vehicles using the site, which in turn impacts public health and safety. Tourism Kelowna has not explained how it plans to compensate or mitigate taxpayers for these losses.

However, there is a simple solution. Kelowna council can oppose rezoning due to obvious commercial uses of the site and because council has a public responsibility to uphold the Simpson Covenant and to protect taxpayer assets. Tourism Kelowna does not have to be located in a waterfront park on Covenant lands. A better location is across the street from the park in the hotel and convention centre planned for the foot of Queensway. This location not only avoids sensitive pubic issues but also enables Tourism Kelowna to be seen as a good corporate citizen that pays its own way, protects public land and values and does not exploit taxpayers.

Richard Drinnan, Kelowna

 

Just Posted

Chinese pioneers honoured

A sign was unveiled in City Park Saturday to honour the Chinese contributions to Kelowna

Search at Silver Creek property enters third day

A portion of the property has been cordoned off with black landscaping fabric

Corn maze owner deters vandals with cameras

The Kelowna Corn Maze now cameras installed on the property

UPDATED: Vehicle incident closes stretch of Hwy 97 in West Kelowna

A detour is available beginning at Daimler Road

Rockets call up rookie netminder

With starter Brodan Salmond injured, Kelowna calls up player from BCMML

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Okanagan Taste: Snacks and what to pair with them

Your guide to for the go-to snacks and beverage pairings for sports season

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Tolko pledges to support women in leadership roles

Vernon - Brad Thorlakson, CEO of Tolko Industries, added his name to the Minerva Diversity Pledge

Garage-rockers visit Kelowna

The Pack A.D. is performing at Doc Willoughby’s Nov. 4

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read