Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne sabres a bottle of sparking wine during the opening of the new $2.8 million visitor centre on Kelowna’s downtown lakefront Thursday. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne sabres a bottle of sparking wine during the opening of the new $2.8 million visitor centre on Kelowna’s downtown lakefront Thursday. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

New Kelowna visitor centre opens

The controversial $2.8 million wood and glass building is located on the downtown lakefront

Tourism Kelowna’s new $2.8 million, downtown lakeshore visitor centre is now open.

In a ceremony held Thursday afternoon—that featured the sabring of bottles of sparkling wine to mark the occasion—the new single-storey wood and glass building was opened.

“Tourism Kelowna is proud and excited to open our new Kelowna Visitor Centre as an important new addition to our community,” said Thom Killingsworth, chairman of Tourism Kelowna’s board of directors.

“As a sought-after and growing destination for visitors, and an incredible place to call home, we look forward to serving our community and visitors who come from across the world. A strong visitor experience includes a well-positioned visitor information centre and innovative visitor experience strategy, which will keep visitors coming back to Kelowna, and continued growth of our local economy.”

He said Kelowna attracts about two million tourists each year who spend an estimated $337 million. The industry supports 12,000 jobs and the economic impact is $1.25 billion.

Related story: Work continuing on new Kelowna visitor centre

The new visitor centre, located between Kerry and Stuart Parks on the downtown lakeshore at the foot of Bernard Avenue, sits on a former parking lot that was once the landing point of the ferry that carried people across Okanagan Lake in the days before the former Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge was built.

According to Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne, an estimated 450,000 pedestrians walk by the location every year because sits alongside the popular downtown lakefront promenade that connects City Park and Waterfront Park.

She said her organization expects 100,000 people will walk through the centre’s doors in its first year of operation.

The visitor centre was built on time and on budget by contractor ANR Construction. It was designed by Kelowna’s Meiklejohn Architects.

The land around the centre, which still resembles a construction site, is being turned into an extension of Kerry Park by the City of Kelowna, and that work is expected to be complete by the end of July or early August, said the city’s Andrew Gibbs.

Part of that work will be to connect the two existing sections of the waterfront promenade, split by the former parking lot up until now.

Related story: Controversial waterfront visitors’ centre approved

The doors of the centre were opened to the public Thursday afternoon, with Mayor Colin Basran calling it a “long awaited and much talked about” building.

Opponents of the location criticized the city for allowing it to be built on the former parking lot because the land used to be zoned as park despite the fact it was never used as such. It had always been a parking lot.

During his turn at sabring a bottle of sparkling wine to mark the opening, Basran joked that he was more nervous doing that than he was in voting to approve the project following a packed, and at times raucous, public hearing on the project last year.

The centre—complete with five new public washrooms—will be open between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily during the summer months and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the rest of the year.

The administration offices of Tourism Kelowna will not be in the centre. Instead, they will remain at their current Abbott Street location.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The inside of the new Kelowna Visitor Centre. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

The inside of the new Kelowna Visitor Centre. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

The front of the Kelowna Visitor Centre faces onto Okanagan lake and features roll-up glass walls on to to lakeshore patio. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

The front of the Kelowna Visitor Centre faces onto Okanagan lake and features roll-up glass walls on to to lakeshore patio. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Mayor Colin Basran takes his turn sabring a bottle of sparkling wine to mark the opening of Kelowna’s new Visitor Centre Thursday. He said he was more nervous doing that than he was voting to approve the controversial building, which was opposed by some in the community because it its downtown lakefront location. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News.

Mayor Colin Basran takes his turn sabring a bottle of sparkling wine to mark the opening of Kelowna’s new Visitor Centre Thursday. He said he was more nervous doing that than he was voting to approve the controversial building, which was opposed by some in the community because it its downtown lakefront location. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News.

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

West Kelowna City Hall on Cameron Road. (File photo)
Rose Valley water treatment facility to cost less than planned

The contract of $45.1 million was awarded to developer Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd .

Crash on Enterprise Way, Feb 23. (Jen Zielinski, Black Press Media)
Tuesday evening’s commute stalled by 3 vehicle collision

The incident backed up traffic on Enterprise Way at Dilworth Drive

A $3,000 donation from the Gary Bennett Family Fund will go towards baby products for families in need. (Central Okanagan Food Bank)
Okanagan charity donates $3,000 to support young families

The Gary Bennett Family Fund donated to Central Okanagan Food Bank

Project rendering of Hadgraft Wilson Place (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
68-unit affordable housing complex coming downtown Kelowna

The six-storey complex located on Fuller Ave is set to be completed by fall 2022

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

Most Read