Letter: Kelowna council’s legacy—Tourism centre, City Park toilets

Beware Kelowna city council, this project could very well become as legendary as the $800,000 City Park toilets.

Kelowna City Park $800

To the editor:

The Tourism Kelowna proposal to build a two-storey, 5,000 sq-ft building at a reported cost of $3.5 million, requires serious scrutiny and consideration.

The suggested location, the parking lot at the foot of Queensway owned by the City of Kelowna, definitely could benefit from a re-purpose. I agree this is an ideal spot if we wish to capture walk-by tourist traffic. I find everything else in the proposal suspect and questionable.

I would suggest a funky, 1,500 sq-ft single storey building could very effectively attract and provide information to strolling tourists.

This lower, smaller profile building would preserve view sight lines along the waterfront.

And the public would get more waterfront park space with the smaller building. Assuming an approximate footprint of 2,500 sq-ft for the proposed Tourism Centre, there would be little room for more than a walkway around the perimeter.

We should not miss this opportunity to improve Kelowna’s limited public access to the waterfront. City council needs to think very carefully before handing this land over to Tourism Kelowna.

Furthermore, Tourism Kelowna’s marketing and administration staff do not require offices with waterfront views, and could easily be located walking distance away in available downtown commercial space.

Most important, the proposed cost is astronomical. If the numbers are correct, the cost of this building would be $700 per square foot. High-quality commercial buildings cost less than half this much. Whoever provided the proposed estimate should be required to back it up with a detailed cost breakdown.

I personally believe tourist information centres, vehicular or pedestrian, are becoming an anachronism in this electronic age. People use their electronic devices to research and plan activities. Tourism Kelowna may be wiser to invest in a stronger electronic presence than this monument to themselves.

Sorry Tourism Kelowna, no fancy waterfront offices for you.

Beware Kelowna city council, this project could very well become as legendary as the $800,000 City Park toilets.

Irene Ruel, Kelowna