To the editor:
In the matter of the Cedar Avenue development I would like to add my two cents worth.
My dad was a waterfront homeowner in the Cedar Avenue area for about 22 years. He sold to the City of Kelowna in November of 1993. My dad considered this sale for probably two years before finally selling.
His main reason for selling was the fact that the city had bought several properties in the area and as a result of that the neighbourhood had changed dramatically. No longer was it an owner-occupied area with the usual pride of home ownership making the area a very desirable spot to live. This bothered him to see this change happening with no end in sight.
He contacted the city to see what was going on and was told that the city was buying up properties as they became available and that the city planned to turn it all into a park some time in the future. The city wondered if my dad was interested in selling. He said he would let them know. Reluctantly in the end my dad negotiated a deal and he moved on.
At no time did the city ever suggest that anything commercial would be developed there. Why would or wouldn’t they? It was his understanding as was mine that this area one day would be another beautiful park for the citizens of Kelowna to enjoy.
Now it appears the city has other plans and although I can appreciate the fact that selling the land for development at today’s price is a nice windfall for the city, is it the right thing to do?
I think not, for two reasons:
1. It is not what the city said they were going to do when all these citizens agreed to sell there properties. The documents clearly state that the properties were purchased to be used as parkland.
2. Should the city be in the land development business or any business in competition against private enterprise? Should the city be developing property to take business away from the Pandosy Street area? Our family had a business on Pandosy Street for 25 years and I know the joy of running your own business and I know some of the struggles of doing so. Competition from private enterprise is welcome anytime. Not only has the city for years been in competition with private enterprise—renting out these properties—it now wants to see the properties developed for commercial use as well.
Not only has the city affected the area negatively, in my opinion, with its initial purchases for the past 30 years, it now does not want to do what is for the greatest good of the community and the city for the next 50 to 100 years or more.
Rumour has it that although council may not have all the facts and are content to spin the info, that this is a done deal. I sure hope not.
Wake up council, have a vision, look to the future and do the right thing.
As letter writer Michael Neill wrote “they ain’t making waterfront anymore.”
City council, this is your chance to once again make this area a wonderful property we all can be proud of and enjoy. Do the right thing.