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Some Kelowna businesses bothered by Meet Me On Bernard

‘If we have issues and concerns they are in the 400 and 500 blocks’
Meet Me on Bernard started in 2020. (Black Press file photo)

Concerns from some downtown businesses have prompted reconsideration of the full opening of the Meet Me On Bernard program.

Downtown Kelowna Association (DKA) Executive Director Mark Burley says there are several business owners that like the program, but also a vocal group that doesn’t want it.

“If we have issues and concerns they are in the 400 and 500 blocks.”

A staff report states that feedback from businesses, the public, and key contributors has been mainly positive over the past few years.

However, some business owners noted reduced parking as a barrier, and additional public feedback cited lack of shade, specifically on the north side of Bernard.

At its April 3 regular meeting, council did approve the Victoria Day long weekend closure of the 200 block of Bernard only, with an option for businesses in the 300-500 blocks to expand into adjacent parking stalls only.

Mayor Tom Dyas says council is comfortable with closing the 200 block but concerned with the 400 and 500 blocks.

“What we directed the committee to do (DKA), and staff, is to go back and consider potentially capping it this year at the 300 block.”

Dyas says restaurants in the 400 and 500 blocks would be allowed to expand patio space into adjacent parking areas if they wished, and traffic would still flow through those blocks.

Coun. Maxine DeHart says there is nothing happening on that section of Bernard during the program and further discussion is needed.

“We have to listen to the businesses. We have to listen to the DKA members.”

Burley says the initiative tends to get lost in the yeas and nays.

“It always has come from a good place and always will come from a good place.”

The DKA is meeting this week and Dyas expects a decision on recommendations for the 400 and 500 blocks would be made by council in the next few weeks.

The full opening of Meet Me On Bernard starts July 1, and the program would end on the Labour Day long weekend.

READ MORE: ‘It is our premier event’: Finalists announced for Kelowna civic and community awards


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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