Kelowna’s future started to take shape this weekend, in an alley connecting Rutland Centennial Hall with the May Day carnival grounds.
Away from the hubbub of the celebrations, but close enough to catch a whiff of cotton candy, it wasn’t the most inspirational location for the city’s Imagine Kelowna project to get underway.
But those who stopped for a moment to offer their two cents on what they want from their city’s future weren’t short on great ideas on how to build a brighter future.
“What we’re getting is interesting,” said Rafael Villarreal, a City of Kelowna planner who’s leading the project.
“There’s been a lot of youth involvement…we’re getting 10-to-15-year-old kids who are being pretty thoughtful.”
One who stood out to Villarreal was a girl who, at 10- to 12-years old, said her main concerns with the city were “jobs, security and education.”
“Wow. That was really interesting,” he said.
“Then we had more talking about recreation, diversity, technology, community building and greening the city.
“We also had a lot of people talking about traffic.”
No subject is off limits in the early stages of this community exercise which is being billed as the “largest city-wide conversation in our history.”
The hope is to gather as much input as possible and then as the process to set city goals moves ahead, those ideas will be whittled down and refined with the assistance of professionals of varying kinds.
“We’re creating a vision for the city,” said Villarreal.
“The last time we did that was 25 years ago, so we’re looking to see what is the thing that will redefine Kelowna. “
To get an idea about how the 1992 plan informed the current shape of the city one need only look as far as its bike lane infrastructure.
Villarreal pointed out that there’s a high concentration of bike lanes in this city, and that was one of the things laid out in that plan.
“The vision can change, but the idea is to prepare the city to be adaptable, so it can respond to a future that’s pretty unknown,” he said.
City staff will be out collecting your opinions at a variety of events.
Next up will be at the Parkinson Recreation Centre’s Family Fun Day on Sunday, May 29 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Those who are social media savvy may also want to make note of the hashtag #ImagineKelowna.
Using Instagram or Twitter, tell the city what you’d like to see by stating “I #ImagineKelowna…”
That avenue comes with a chance to win from a weekly draw.
Prizes, says the city, will vary.
For more information go to http://imagine.kelowna.ca/.