To the editor:
The resistance to building a Tourism Centre at the foot of Queensway is understandable for many reasons, but I think the loss of green space in the downtown waterfront area is the crucial problem.
Tourists who are “already downtown and exploring on foot” are downtown exploring on foot or by bicycle because there is green space with related activities—beaches, basketball, volleyball, field sports, ice skating and waterfront access for boats. They are there because there is something to enjoy. They are where they want to be.
I don’t know why we would want to put a large building in the middle of the attraction, in order to direct them elsewhere—which no doubt would require driving.
There are many places to visit in and around Kelowna. One of them is the increasingly popular waterfront area from City Park north to the wildlife reserve and south along the Abbott Street recreational corridor. People come to the park because it is a park. They are already out of their cars.
According to the chair of Tourism Kelowna, they are trying to influence tourists “to see and do more during their stay.” If we provide them with more park areas in the downtown waterfront, they will do just that. Then they will walk to other places in the immediate area, patronizing businesses throughout the downtown.
A simple kiosk could provide information about what is available within walking and cycling distance and also what activities require other forms of transportation.
Office workers for Tourism Kelowna don’t need to be working at their desks in the middle of our very small downtown park area. We don’t have much of a city square—a central, outdoor, public area—but we do have one.
Let’s build the downtown to maximize the open public space that we admire in other cities and not destroy the resource in a misguided attempt to make people spend more money elsewhere in the region.
Neil Cadger, Kelowna