To the editor:
Some clarification and corrections are required for a letter published on the Capital News website Sept. 19 under the heading, Info Roundup on Kelowna’s Cedar Avenue Park and in the paper Sept. 23 under the heading City Has Ulterior Motive for Cedar Ave Park.
The letter writer provides a chronology of the Pandosy waterfront development plans near Cedar Avenue. The sequence of events described is generally accurate.
However, some opinions are expressed as fact and should be clarified.
For example, while the beach was seen as a potential public swimming beach in 1989, water quality testing after 2004 found the shallow, creek-fed bay prone to contamination from water fowl and other biological conditions.
The letter also states, “…the City of Kelowna’s real estate department took full control of planning and developing this park site but made a mess of it because their plans are driven by economic and political goals that ignored the public interest and the community vision for the site.”
In fact, public interest was foremost in the minds of 30 community members who came together for two full days to design options on how to develop the park. The development option selected by Council opens the waterfront to public use, including the creation of the Paddle Centre which provides public programs for all ages and day camps for kids booked through the City’s Active Living and Culture Department. It now has more than 300 members who use the area every day.
Further to the point of public interest, the majority of people who commented on the plan when it was developed by community members saw public value in creating a connection from the Pandosy Village to the park and waterfront.
Elsewhere, the writer states, “In February 2016, the city’s 2030 Infrastructure Plan showed the real estate division officially delayed park construction until 2027…”
For the record, decisions on park construction schedules do not rest with the real estate division, but are prioritized by the City of Kelowna based on funding plans for all the city’s long-term capital projects for roads, buildings, parks and pathways. Council’s selection of an all-park configuration came with the acknowledgment it would delay construction by at least a decade based on higher funding priorities throughout the city.
One more: “Since 2014, the real estate department has covered the sand with large boulders along the entire southern part of the beach…”
In fact, this work was planned and completed by the infrastructure division in 2012-13 and was necessary to replace a retaining wall that was failing after a storm. At the time, the city sent letters to immediate property owners and put up signs to explain why the work was necessary.
Tom Wilson, communications, City of Kelowna