To the editor:
Last Wednesday evening, I was downtown at another meeting and heard that there was a presentation at City Hall (about a proposed parkade for a proposed Interior Health office building and expanding the existing Library Parkade).
I looked at the proposal and talked extensively with one of the real estate specialists.
I am writing this as an artist, and a long-term resident business person at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in the Cultural District for the last 10 years.
The placement of both the building and the parkade would be detrimental to the character and ambiance of the Cultural District.
By placing these two buildings in their current proposed locations tells me the city does not understand the vibrancy and life force of the Cultural District.
I see this as being a very shortsighted design, without regard to the future impact.
Ellis Street cannot take the traffic. The grassy area near the Library Parkade would disappear. This is parkland that is used for cultural activities.
In my discussion with the city employee that night, he said there would be parkland increased near the water.
I think that is wonderful but all the parkland should not be in the same spot. It is quite beautiful to be able to walk around downtown and come across green areas where one can sit and have lunch, watch a play or participate in a fair.
I agree that the downtown area needs parking. There must be areas that are outside the Cultural District where this can be facilitated.
People currently walk from as far away as Bernard Avenue to go to Kelowna Rockets hockey game (at Prospera Place), or to other events there.
I think the city employee’s excuse that people won’t walk from a parkade located near the Clement-Ellis-Sunset area, or even from the Leon-Lawrence area, is a thin one and unbelievable.
The city just turned down the Monaco development proposal, which was going to be placed right behind the Madison building, and yet it wants to have another building almost as high as the Monaco, right across the street?
The impact of this new building on the residents of the Madison, who are property owners and investors, will be very detrimental.
I am surprised the city is proposing this spot. Is it so people who work for the IHA can have a view of the water from their offices between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day?
In my opinion, it is admirable that the city wants to infuse the downtown with 1,000 extra people who will shop and work there.
But the reality of the situation is that they will go to work and then go home and are unlikely spend as much time as expected or hoped.
The proper thing to do would be to place the office building on Leon and Lawrence Avenues, and out of the Cultural District.
There has been discussion about cleaning up these two streets and it seems to me that having an office building there would accomplish that, while having more people work downtown.
Or why not St Paul Street where there are other medical-type buildings?
I could go on and list many other places. It just seems there are other solutions available.
If the IHA is just looking for extra office space, then perhaps it can look at developing the space right behind the one it is currently leasing up near Old Vernon Road.