To the editor:
To the editor:
And so, from its original inception in 1989, some 25 years ago, those who had the vision, and those who have lobbied over the past 10 years will have the opportunity to congratulate city council at the public hearing at City Hall on Tuesday 7 p.m., October 7. Thirteen magnificent waterfront properties along Abbott and Walnut streets where Cedar Avenue meets the lake will finally be approved by council for rezoning to P3—major park and open space. The decision involves over $20 million of lakefront that was long ago paid for.
However, what will be put in the park is another matter. I encourage everyone to attend the public hearing so council can hear what people want in their new urban beachfront.
There was significant city-initiated feedback earlier this year about a private paddle centre being made a major stakeholder of the park. Despite the many concerns and requests for more details, it appears that the paddle club’s current and temporary use of a fenced-off and vacant lot will be expanded to occupy three more lots plus a large home. About 240 linear feet of the best beach will now be reserved for club members.
The temporary paddle club permit will also be replaced with a lease of undetermined term or cost.
The remaining waterfront is mostly blocked from beach access due to rip-rap rock and retaining walls that were recently installed and enlarged. There’s no mention that this will be removed and returned to its natural sandy shoreline.
The City denies any plans for a boardwalk even though it appears to serve no other purpose.
Regardless, the houses currently on the land prevent any use of the park, and the City no longer plans to use the $130,000 it budgeted in 2014 to remove four of the eight houses. However, they have the money to renovate the biggest home for the paddler’s clubhouse.
There also appears to be interest to partner with someone willing to build a restaurant in the park. The paddle centre and a restaurant will require significant parking, leaving a small but unknown amount of space for a real P3—park and open space.
I am therefore not sure what we will eventually end up with. In the short term the approximate 100-member paddle club will expand and the rest will be left in its present deteriorating state. Your tax dollars pay for a club but nothing is apparently available to even clear some land and rip-rap to plant grass so the rest of the citizens can enjoy this incredible treed and open lakefront.
Write a letter and also attend the public hearing to make use of your last opportunity to tell council what you lobbied for. Why is this project being driven by the city’s real estate division instead of the parks department? Why is there no longer any interest to involve the public? What is actually planned for this waterfront? Why has this whole process been so difficult and convoluted?
Michael Neill, Kelowna