City council has directed staff to look into expanding the Meet Me On Bernard program.
Mayor Colin Basran suggested a motion that council consider an earlier start and/or later closing date for the 2023 edition of the program.
“I still in my heart believe that this should be extended beyond just the summer,” said Basran.
The rest of council was in favour of the motion.
“I think it is key to work with stakeholders throughout Bernard to understand their operational needs, especially in their shoulder season after tourist season,” said Councillor Loyal Wooldridge.
“I see value it in, but I think it does require reaching out to make sure that it meets the needs of the business community and that there aren’t unintended consequences,” said Councillor Gail Given.
Basran said he had conversations with business owners on Bernard and heard many would like to see the program expanded.
“If they could utilize it for longer I think we would see a more revitalized Bernard because you would see business owners potentially, at least some that I’m talking to, make bigger investments and then can have a stronger ROI.”
Council voted in favour of the motion, with the exception of Councillor Brad Sieben who declared a conflict of interest as he has a business interest on Bernard Avenue.
Staff will consult with businesses, the Downtown Kelowna Association and stakeholders and bring back a report to council before the end of the first quarter of 2023.
This year’s Meet Me On Bernard runs from July 1 to September 5.