Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna mayor to unveil further reopening plans tomorrow

Last week, Basran hinted the city could close certain streets to vehicle traffic, allowing restaurants to expand their patios

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is expected to unveil further details regarding the city’s reopening plan tomorrow morning (May 21).

The mayor, alongside the city’s senior management staff, will announce the next phase of the reopening of city facilities at 11:30 a.m.

While it is unclear what the announcement tomorrow will entail, several changes over the past week at both the municipal and provincial levels have changed the way the city — and its residents — are approaching the pandemic.

Several city-owned recreational amenities reopened on May 15, including tennis courts, pickleball courts, BMX tracks, skate parks and disk golf. Playgrounds, indoor recreation facilities, aquatics facilities, arenas and theatres currently remain closed but during a May 13 news conference the mayor said such facilities could open “in the near future”.

Restaurants and businesses began opening their doors on Tuesday as the second phase of B.C.’s restart plan began. Life was back on downtown Kelowna streets for the first time in months and some restaurants reported wait times over an hour as they adhered to the 50 per cent capacity policy implemented by the provincial government.

Last week, Basran hinted at the potential of the city closing certain streets to vehicle traffic, so restaurants could expand their patios into the streets allowing them to serve more people. However, he did not divulge exactly what that might look like or the streets that it would affect.

“It would help create more space for businesses that are going to be losing space in light of physical distancing requirements,” Basran told the Capital News on May 12. “We want to be mindful of that and help them out.”

The mayor also suggested Parkinson Recreation Centre could soon be opened progressively based on the recommendations from the province.

“Larger activity spaces could be used sooner than smaller spaces to ensure safe physical distancing,” he said.

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor wants to expand open spaces for restaurants

READ MORE: Kelowna to open some public facilities in phased-in reopening plan

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@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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