Letter: Once-in-century chance to preserve lakefront
To the editor:
Re: Cedar Avenue Abbott Street development in South Pandosy.
As long time residents of Kelowna and Lake Country we support an exclusively lakefront beach in this special location. This is a chance to protect a precious resource as the rapid growth of our region encircles us all.
There is more than enough land in the area and throughout Kelowna for the city to develop revenue property and a healthy market for commercial space nearby. There is a very limited amount of public lakefront property that can accommodate the growing population and tourism industry.
We have a once-in-a-century chance to improve Kelowna’s landscape in a way that will attract people for generations to come.
The City of Kelowna would do well to take a page out of Penticton’s policy regarding waterfront. Penticton is a fine example of a city on the lake that protected their most precious resource. Renowned for its strip of attractions right across from the lake and beautiful stretch of sandy beach, it is a strong draw for Okanagan tourists.
The City of Kelowna’s argument about the millions of dollars such a park would cost (up to $4 million) is a red herring. The city is one of, if not the largest single owner of private property in Kelowna. They earn millions of dollars in rental income from hundreds of single family and apartment units. There is adequate revenue to cover the cost of building a park that will leave a legacy for decades.
The type of development the city is proposing could easily be built on other properties the city owns that are also not developed to their highest and best use.
Furthermore this development proposal is out of date and was authorized by a previous council in a different time. As a current upcoming project it requires a renewed application and with it another call for public input from a growing population. The public must get involved in order to protect this most valuable resource.
Private foundations like the Rotary and Gyro Clubs have raised and saved money to buy and remove homes to extend both the Rotary and Gyro Parks for the general good.
How ironic that the City of Kelowna, a public entity, would prefer to sell off the land for profit to commercial development rather than invest in a park.
Something is terribly wrong with this picture.
Another city argument is that the water quality is poor at Cedar Avenue, and therefore unsafe for swimming. That’s because the city redirects post sewage treatment plant waste and runoff into the lake. Perhaps if our water is not clean once treated we need to investigate the root cause. Wouldn’t it make sense to redirect gray water to areas further from such concentrated residential areas?
In an age where environment is top of mind we can’t help but wonder how the city can point out such a weakness in our infrastructure and call the solution a “No Swimming” sign.
We encourage people to speak up and let the City of Kelowna know that this beach must be saved.
& Elya Byrne,