An artist’s rendering of the building at 1570 and 1580 Water Street. (Contributed)

Kelowna council supports 625-capacity downtown wine centre

Despite the lack of details on who the operator will be, council is confident about the project

Kelowna’s city council members are onside with a proposed wine centre to be located downtown, but they need more information on the project before it can move forward.

During a Tuesday (June 23), public hearing, city council received an application to rezone 1570 and 1580 Water Street to allow it to be a liquor primary establishment with retail liquor sales on site.

The proposed establishment at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Water Street will feature a 60-person wine bar, 150-person lounge, 60-person rooftop deck, a 300-person interpretive centre and a tasting room, a 30-person education centre and lab and a 25-person wine shop to form a unique 625-person capacity wine centre.

One of the proposed centre’s investors, Mark Betteridge, spoke at the public hearing and said approving the project will only benefit Kelowna’s economy.

“In my opinion, this development will be a net benefit and help the city. It will help the city’s reputation,” he said.

“A lot of (this project) is about education. It teaches you where this product is coming from and why it exists, who benefits from it, and how do you compare it to the rest of the world?”

Betteridge added a facility like this will get a lot of attention, especially from airlines like WestJet.

The council supports the application and has approved it for second and third readings but some members complained there still is not enough information on the project.

“I will be supporting this. I believe in the vision, although the details are scant and the suspense and intrigue are high,” Coun. Brad Sieben said.

“And, from what I heard of the vision if it does come true, I agree with the speaker that this could be a catalyst… and make downtown even better.”

Coun. Mohini Singh said the council has worked hard to bring vitality to the downtown core, and the project will only add to the cross-section of food and entertainment in the area.

“Like Counc. Sieben said, we have a lot to offer in this town and we need to do our best to showcase the products of our community. That’s what I would’ve wanted to hear tonight, but I hope that’s what will come (from this project) as well,” she said.

In the end, the city council said what’s most important to them is the fact that they will be supporting a local winery’s project.

READ: 625-capacity wine centre proposed in historic former Keg building

READ: B.C.’s COVID-19 modelling on track for next phase of reopening

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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