To the editor:
In regards to the proposed tourist centre on the Kelowna City waterfront, I began to question it’s location and size when I viewed an artist’s rendering of the structure displayed at an open house showing a large cement patio on the water side of the building.
City drawings that have yet to be finalized, suggest that the tourist centre facade will be like that of the Rotary Centre for the Arts. It is proposed to be similar in height but with a 30 foot shorter length. This large building will dominate the shoreline and block west looking corridor views of the harbour from any point east of the site.
In approving the tourist office, the present city council has contravened several established conventions both in their design choice and on the building location. The most recent plans have the building and its surrounding boardwalks encroaching the 50 foot shore line zone that is mandated by the Federal and Provincial Governments to normally be free of all man-made structures. This zone is to be an area of natural vegetation above the lake shoreline.
The provincial permit for work on the tourist centre site, reminds the city to respect the 50 foot zone and this is repeated in the Environmental Impact Report prepared for that work. To date, we have three amenities that impact the downtown shore zone – the Yacht Club, the Downtown Marina (north), and the Downtown Marina (south). Their linear impacts along the shore zone are each minimal at 69 feet, 10.5 feet and 20 feet respectively, while the proposed tourist centre will impact over 100 feet along the shore zone to exceed the combined impact of the other three.
Also, the present city council’s choice to locate the tourist centre on the shoreline is questionable. In placing it there, the council is contradicting the intent of the City’s Lake Okanagan Shore Plan (Section 9.6), which is a supporting document to our Official Community Plan (OCP), stating that the city will “discourage commercial tourist attractions from locating in the shore zone area. The lake itself should be the main tourist attraction. Only those attractions which are directly dependent on the lake, which are environmentally-friendly, and which add to the public enjoyment of the shore zone should be allowed.”
Unlike the three existing amenities that cross the downtown shore zone, a tourist centre is not directly dependent on the lake, not environmentally friendly because it will trespass the 50 foot shore zone and it will visually block the main tourist attraction – the lake.
Peter Dill, Kelowna