Letter: Many questions on proposed tourism centre relocation

Once in a lifetime opportunity to join Stuart Park with Kerry Park by creating greenspace where the existing parking lots now sit.

To the editor:

It was a restless night’s sleep for me last night. That’s how worked up I am over Tourism Kelowna pushing their agenda to relocate their offices to a prime waterfront location downtown.

Standing at The Sails last Sunday I observed the unobstructed sightlines all the way to Stuart Park and beyond. This will be lost if this office building is allowed to go ahead.

Fancy dancy architecture or not, this is not the right locale for it and the obvious commercial interests Tourism Kelowna represents put their development in direct opposition of the Simpson Covenant.

For shame.

We just finally got rid of two ugly buildings, one smack in the middle of City Park and the other in Kerry Park, and now it is proposed to repeat this folly. Tourism Kelowna has perfectly good offices where they are at on Harvey. There is no need for them to rebuild. If they want to locate satellite kiosks near the waterfront and elsewhere that’s fine.

No city department would be allowed to locate their offices on the waterfront, it should be no different in this case.

We are presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to join Stuart Park with Kerry Park by creating greenspace where the existing parking lots now sit. Wouldn’t this be wonderful? One continual flow, from City Park to Stuart Park and beyond.

The intense densification that is planned for downtown makes it imperative that we keep the waterfront free of development and open for public use. We need every bit of green space we can get.

This project can only bring more traffic with its resultant smog, noise and congestion no matter how much Tourism Kelowna tries to play this down.

I feel we have been left out of the decision-making process around this project and that true public consultation does not exist in this city. We can only conclude that the city and Tourism Kelowna have been meeting in back rooms for quite some time, came to this conclusion and the only thing left to do was to spin it to the public.

And spin they have! We’ve been inundated in the media with just how wonderful this development is and how it can only benefit the citizens of Kelowna.

Unfortunately there are still unanswered questions. Such as:

• Just how much is this going to cost the taxpayers?

• It is my understanding the land will be gifted to Tourism Kelowna. What is the value of that land?

• What’s to stop the site from being expanded in the future?

• What will be done to protect views?

• How is it not in violation of the Simpson Covenant?

• Will Tourism Kelowna’s current offices be torn down?

Many worthwhile suggestions have been made by caring citizens as to alternatives to this development. We can only hope council will recognize these alternatives, oppose rezoning of this land and maintain their responsibility to protect public assets for future generations.

 

Jason Bednar, Kelowna