Letter: Public-use waterfront is a rare commodity here
To the editor:
I have great concern and questions that plague me in regarding the lakefront property at Cedar Avenue. It is a shame that all but one city councillor voted to sell this waterfront asset to a developer. As per city documentation, dated September 15, 1992, this land was purchased by us, the taxpayers, for a neighbourhood park similar to Kinsmen and Strathcona Parks. What a gift to have forward looking city staff with concern for future needs nine years ago.
Fast forward to today I see the potential for a fatal decision to develop this land. Having attended the Advisory Planning Commission meeting one felt a glimmer of hope as they listened to residents’ concerns and turned down the application to abolish the park space. Unfortunately this decision had no bearing on council.
The city’s study was completed in March 2004. It is antiquated, if not completely irrelevant today. Presently we are in the midst of a densification of the Pansosy area. Multi-family units are either built, being built, or being planned for both sides of Pandosy and up to Lakeshore and Richter Streets. With this increase of family units there is also a huge increase in commercial space being offered. There is land already dedicated to multi-family developments which currently sit idle and much more suitable land available for housing and commercial. This growth should predicate the city to keep already purchased waterfront park space for the needs already required by growth. Currently our lakefront parks are reaching their capacity even without taking into consideration our city’s growth.
We will most likely never again have the opportunity to acquire such an expanse of waterfront. This park will be used by residents in all areas in the city, as well as those visiting, or using our services at Kelowna General Hospital. We have another jewel to add to the crown of this great city. Lets not lose this gift for all Kelowna residents, visitors and, most importantly, generations to come.
I challenge city council to make public their case for turning this open park space to development. The only factor that I can possibly imagine is the need for money. Is this rezoning in keeping with the city’s ideals of being green, livable, sustainable, and a prudent use of taxpayers money? We have a responsibilty to leave this city a better place, part of a proud legacy for future generations. Would another waterfront project or open park be more in keeping with responsible planning?
I hope the residents of Kelowna stand together to help stop this loss of parkland. Attend the public meeting April 5, write letters to mayor and council, be proud that you had a hand to keeping the city green and inviting now and forever.
K Dodds, Kelowna