Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray cuts the ribbon to open the new $5.1 public pier and marina on the city's downtown lakefront (left) Friday afternoon

Kelowna’s new pier and marina open

Public walking pier and temporary-use marina have been amenities the city has long awaited says mayor.

The latest addition to downtown Kelowna’s new look has been officially opened to the public.

The long-awaited new $5.1 million public pier and temporary-use marina was opened Friday afternoon, with close to 150 invited guests gathered on the 350-foot-long pier to watch Mayor Walter Gray cut a ribbon.

He was jointed by Phil Milroy, whose Edmonton-based development company Westcorp built the pier and will maintain it while operating the atached marina through a contractor. It also built and operates the nearby commercial dock, both of which are located at the foot of Bernard Avenue.

The new temporar-use marina has 68 boat slips, 27 of which are for hourly andday use, with the rest available for overnight moorage. It has a gas bar and a ticket building for the tour boats that use the nearby commercial dock and a sheltered viewing structure.

While the pier and marina were originally supposed to be finished by the end of May, Gray and his son Dallas, who is president of the Downtown Kelowna Association, both said the wait was worth it.

The mayor said a public pier was somehting Kelowna has wanted for many years and to have a private developer pay for such a public amenity was a win-win for the city and residents.

Westcorp, which wants to built a hotel on land it owns nearby at Mill Street and Queensway, will incorporate the new pier and marina into its eventual plan, said Milroy.

The public was given its first chance to walk on the new pier later in the afternoon when it was opened in conjunction with the city’s Culture Days event going on downtown Friday and over the weekend.

The pier and marina are just the latest additions to the changing face of downtown Kelowna, with the revitalization of the main street, Bernard Avenue, consrtuction of a new Kelowna Yacht Club under way, and expansion of Jim Stuart Park planned as well as Westcorp’s plan for its boutique hotel that will include more public space.

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