Michaels: Will there still be a ‘Granville Island style market’ in Kelowna?

If plans for the local landscape can be counted on, Kelowna is shaping up to be a dynamic place to build a life.

If plans for the local landscape can be counted on, Kelowna is shaping up to be a dynamic place to build a life.

But one shouldn’t count their chickens before they hatch. Or, as the case may be, their high-rise and commercial developments before they’re built.

Pipe-dreams laid out on drafting paper have enticed more than one hopeful Kelowna resident to part with their cash, as has been demonstrated with any number of developments that stacked up to little more than lawsuits and a pile of dirt.

Maybe that’s why the lack of action at the BC Tree Fruit building on Clement Avenue has my Spidey Sense going haywire.

The hotly anticipated valley version of Granville Island Market was pitched to the community last year, prompting widespread enthusiasm and, on the less positive end of the spectrum, a schism between members at the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters’ market.

If my last interview with developer Gary Tebbutt is to be taken as gospel, the construction part of the project was to get underway by November.

Deadlines with developers always seem to be more flexible than, say, my editor’s. But one would assume that at the very least title of the building would have transferred from BC Tree Fruits to Tebbutt in the time that’s followed.  It’s certainly what a press release indicated had already happened months ago.

But that’s just not the case.

In a land title search completed last week, BC Tree Fruits is still on record as the owner of the subject properties, with the exception of the land that’s designated for a brewery.

BC Tree Fruits has said it is still working on the deal with the developer, who has yet to return my calls. And Jim Paterson, the executive director of business development at the city, said he’s heard the sale is still in the works. It’s just taking longer than anticipated.

I hope they’re right.

If not, there will be a lot of Kelowna residents who will have to face their daydreams of urban living being dashed.

Then there are the aforementioned farming folk who turned differing ideals into a proper break-up after the idea was floated to them—how will they move ahead if this doesn’t pan out?

As for the brewery, it’s unclear what’s happening there, too. A search of City of Kelowna development records show forward momentum, in terms of navigating  city paperwork anyway, ending by around May of this year.

Like I already said, it’s the one parcel of the subject property that isn’t still under the ownership of BC Tree Fruits, so that at least is good news.

The idea that the involved parties are still working on the deal is also heartening. So, here’s hoping that the pesky business of delayed ownership is merely a blip in the road to a new, dynamic Kelowna.

Turning again to delightfully appropriate farming cliches; this city is ripe with possibility.