Hodge: Hiawatha Park proposal a concern for area residents

The KLO Residents Association AGM was too much of a temptation not to show up to—and I am glad I did.

Well, it took me nearly two months but I finally dragged my sorry self out of the house and out to a ‘community/political’ event last Monday night.

The KLO Residents Association AGM was too much of a temptation not to show up to—and I am glad I did. It was great to see so many friendly faces.

Aside from their annual general meeting, the neighbourhood association also had a representative from Westcorp discussing their plans for a hotel/housing complex at the Hiawatha Park area.

As well, the agenda also discussed the controversial Cedar Avenue park proposal.

Since those were two issues that I was very passionate about during my tenure on council, I decided to check out the meeting.

To my pleasurable surprise, former city council cohort Kevin ‘The Kid’ Craig was also there.

So we sat together, shared a few chuckles and rolled our eyes a few times.

As expected, Westcorp had little to really say and brought no visual plans, claiming that the project is still “being reviewed” by the development group.

They anticipate a meeting with council in March or April regarding the development plans.

Some 50 residents were on hand and they all made it clear at not being happy with how things had proceeded to this point, and that they will be paying attention as the project unfolds.

The night had an interesting twist when I managed to encourage Kevin to accept a nomination to sit on the association’s board. Go get ‘em Kev.


I read earlier this week that city council and Mayor Walter Gray are still deciding the fate of the Advisory Planning Commission along with a dozen other city committees.

I can save them all some time. Leave them as is.

The elimination of any of the committees would be an error—especially the APC, Women’s and Community Committee, Accessibility Committee, Housing Committee and several others.

If council wants to cut “some of the costs” as has been suggested, the only real costs with committees are due to the insistence of having a staff liaisons in addition to the official staff person taking minutes.

There is really no need for a staff liaison at the board if there is a council rep already. Many council’s have committees with council members assigned as part of their job, and no staff liaison is needed.

I never did understand why that apparent need exists.

The APC and other committees provide a vital link and insight to residents in our community and are well worth the effort.

Eliminating such committees simply eliminates the public voice from being heard, a public voice belonging to knowledgeable people with genuine concern for their community.

There is no need to cut such committees. Hopefully, council will stand firm with the status quo on this issue.


So, the line-up just continues to improve for the Sean Connor fundraiser early next month, as my lifetime buddy Deb Stone and her amazing band have joined the list.

Stone will certainly get the crowd clapping and dancing at the worthwhile event.

Sherman Doucette and a plethora of other talented musicians will join Stone on the musical schedule. It should be a tremendous evening of music.

Connor is a highly respected and loved photographer for the Capital News. He has just returned from two months of specialized proton radiation treatment for a rare form of brain cancer in Loma Linda, Cal.

That community is home to one of only two facilities in North America that deal with such cancer.

Connor is thrilled to be home after spending six weeks through Christmas in Loma Linda—far from friends and loved ones. The trip was very expensive (more than a photographer’s wage that’s for darn sure),  hence the great need for a fundraiser.

The media fraternity may be damn competitive on a daily basis but when ‘one of ours’ takes a tough turn, all the team sweaters come off and we pull together. However, Connor needs our whole community’s help as well.

It will be a tremendous night of music with a fundraiser of artwork and photographs on sale as well.

Please take in the evening and meet Sean. The event runs from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.2, at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

See you there.





Kelowna Capital News