Letter: Bernard has empty blocks to put Visitor Centre

We only have until Jan. 24 to write or call to our mayor … to use the space without blocking our views with bricks and mortar.

To the editor:

For the record I do not agree with the building of the new Kelowna Tourism Centre on the downtown waterfront area. This is imperative we leave as park land for all to view and enjoy all year long. People who have visited Kelowna for many years do not come here to view our new buildings but in fact to take a picture with Ogopogo or of the boats moored at the marina and the Yacht Club. Improve it for all to enjoy with a continuous park like and unobstructed view of our lake.

I would in fact demand that Kelowna Tourism go to Bernard Ave., the most walked street all year long even on snow days. Bernard has nine empty storefronts and a full block that all need upgrades. Pedestrian traffic was one of the requirements they considered important for success of the new building. Welcome to Bernard the historic entrance to downtown Kelowna.

We have been lied to.

The proposed 28-storey hotel on Water St. will block the water view and the new two-storey tourism centre [since amended by Tourism Kelowna to one storey] will not allow a peak around to see the water until one passes by the Bear at Stuart Park and arrives at Doyle and Water St. Then you have a short glimpse of the Yacht Club marina but don’t blink because the view disappears immediately with all buildings on the water front to the mill area and beyond.

We already have a metal box on the water front for bike storage and rentals and a ticket booth for sales and this area has more than enough clutter to walk around — the metal box needs to be addressed.

As a citizen who travels all over the world I would suggest that Tourism Kelowna should build a better website and spend money promoting all of Kelowna, not just what a selective memberships wishes, to give the traveller the full experience of Kelowna area.

We only have until Jan. 24 to write e-mails, letters or make that call to our mayor and council. We have lost so much of what makes Kelowna unique under the banner of progress and development. For the sake of all now and the future citizens of Kelowna let’s keep our bit of paradise an open park and free for all to enjoy.

This space could support a seasonal downtown market, seasonal displays, buskers, food trucks stop and seating for all ages, all year long. If you need to use the space do it without blocking our views with bricks and mortar.

Marguerite Berry, Kelowna