To the editor:
It appears council has made a huge error in negotiating a back room deal with Tourism Kelowna and then sliding it under the taxpayers noses. There is an increasing awareness council intends to ram this through and the public is becoming very angry as they realize what is transpiring.
Council is way over the line assuming they can rezone parkland for development with little to no public consultation.I would strongly advise individual councillors to reconsider their support. Public anger is continuing to grow and will only increase if council ignores the outcry. I believe there will be a political price to pay and heads will roll in the next municipal election.
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s council meeting there needs to be a postmortium on this deeply flawed process. It should be impossible for council to rezone P3-Parks & Open Spaces for commercial usage without a full and fair public consultation. It should be a very steep and tall mountain to climb before council can complete this type of rezoning. A sham survey as was conducted with this project is not even close to making the mark. It has zero credibility and thus is of zero value.
The other serious issue is conflict of interest as at least three of the eight councillors and the mayor have a major present or immediate past relationship with Tourism Kelowna. I think it is more realistic to suspect it was council members and not city staff who have been encouraging Tourism Kelowna to seek the Queensway Jetty location.
City staff are experienced and risk adverse. They are smart enough not to wade out in a swamp like this without mayor and/or council backing. Apparently the provincial government passed legislation a couple years ago watering down conflict of interest rules for municipal councils. Wonder where that initiative came from? This situation is a perfect example of what is so wrong with the new legislation. Looks like it’s up to the citizens to lobby their members of the legislature to strike down this ill-conceived legislation. It is imperative Council members who vote on these issues are representing the interests of the citizens and not special interests.
Council was forced to back away from two previous attempts to locate the Tourist Centre in city waterfront parklands. Time to back off for the third & last time!
Clark Berry, Kelowna