An artist’s rendition of the the new waterfront Tourism Kelowna visitor centre at the foot of Queensway downtown.—Image: Tourism Kelowna

An artist’s rendition of the the new waterfront Tourism Kelowna visitor centre at the foot of Queensway downtown.—Image: Tourism Kelowna

Work continuing on new Kelowna visitor centre

Crews working through winter on downtown lakeshore site to have building ready for this summer

Snow and colder temperatures are not stopping work from continuing on Kelowna’s controversial new lakeshore visitor centre downtown.

According to Tourism Kelowna, crews will continue to work through the winter to keep the construction timeline on target for a mid-2018 opening.

So far, in addition to the underground services, one layer of concrete has been poured at the site for the “raft” slab that the building will sit on, and the base of the perimeter walls is in place. The lines for city services, including plumbing and electricity, were installed late last year.

According to Tourism Kelowna’s Chris Shauf, the next step will be to pour the final layer of concrete, which will become the floor of the building and to start construction of the building’s outside walls.

Located at the foot of Queensway, the new 3,000-square-foot visitor centre will connect visitors and residents with the many things to do in the area. The location is the former site of the dock for the ferry that carried people across Okanagan Lake prior to construction the first Okanagan Lake bridge.

But the location has proven controversial with many in the community, who have voiced opposition to building the visitor centre on the downtown lakeshore. But proponents say there is a move to have tourism centres located in city centres, adding advances in technology, and the way visitors now look for information—via the internet—when they get to a destination mean centres no longer need to be located alongside highways outside of cities and towns to cater to automobile traffic.

In addition to information about what visitors can do once they are here, Tourism Kelowna says centre staff will also sell tickets to events, tours and attractions, as well as local merchandise and souvenirs.

The visitor centre will also feature interactive and storyboard displays to educate visitors about Kelowna’s heritage, the scope of attractions and encourage discovery of the area. The building will also have public washrooms.

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