Business questions Chamber support for visitor centre

Mosaic Books owner says the Kelowna chamber didn't poll its members before supporting waterfront project

  • Jan. 23, 2017 10:00 a.m.
Mosaic Books in downtown Kelowna.

Mosaic Books in downtown Kelowna.

A Kelowna business is questioning the validity of the support the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is giving, in favour of the downtown visitor centre project.

Mosaic Books owners Michael, Michele, Trevor and Alicia Neill say they are very disappointed the Kelowna Chamber chose to make such a strong endorsement for the project, proposed for the Queensway jetty, a location they say disrupts Kelowna’s waterfront.

And the Neil’s say neither the chamber, nor the Downtown Kelowna Association, reached out to their general membership, before announcing support for the project.

“This was a hot-button topic and I fully expected Mosaic Books would participate in an e-mail survey from both organizations.” said the Neil’s, saying they were never asked where they stood. “Their opinion(s) are therefore essentially a majority vote of the executive(s), and meaningless as to the general opinion of their membership.”

EXTRA: Both sides gear up for Jan. 24 public hearing

The Neil’s questioned supporting a location that could otherwise be “turned into something magnificent to bolster the very tourism they are encouraging.”

In its support, the chamber pointed to the reduced size of the building and setback from the boardwalk and positive responses to public input asking for uninterrupted access to the lakefront as positives.

But the Neil’s don’t agree.

“Judging from the many recent public comments, those changes were insignificant…minor adjustment to keep the building footprint legally out of the covenant land donated by the Simpson family’s company.”

Neil said a better spot for the visitor centre would be downtown, something that would align with the Bernard Ave. revitalization and a perfect fit.

“The revitalization has provided many improvements and opportunities for commerce to be located, including Tourism Kelowna,” they said. “Every objective the chamber mentioned could be realized without sacrificing the waterfront’s natural beauty.”

Kelowna Capital News