Letter: Waterfront tourist info centre is nonsense

Why waste tax dollars on another grandiose boondoggle downtown?

To the editor:

Re: Tourist Centre not needed at waterfront.

Why destroy the public’s precious waterfront land at the end of Queensway Ave and block priceless views from Water St., Mill St. and Queensway with a big tourist centre building? The belief that a tourist centre is needed right beside the Lake to draw travellers to the waterfront and downtown is nonsense.

All that is needed are some kiosks with information on direction, services and points of interest including history, heritage, culture etc. This could be provided on screens with pictures and recorded messages at the touch of a button 24/7 all year round. This would be superior to a massive, view blocking Tourist Centre on Queensway Ave that would be open with many less hours and days.

As eastbound travellers drive down bridge hill they see the beautiful view of the lake and City Park. These rare gems attract many visitors to the waterfront and downtown. For these eastbound travellers, one kiosk could be located at either end of the bridge.

For information in the downtown area and about Kelowna, kiosks could be located in places beside City Hall, the fire hall and next to the bus depot, library, etc.  Also, kiosks could be located at city bus stops such as at Orchard Park and at the Greyhound Bus terminal etc.

Many westbound travellers drive past downtown because there isn’t enough information along the highway to stimulate their interest to go there. These travellers need proper signage and information well in advance of approaching downtown. So, why not have one main tourist information centre located along Highway 97 such as near the airport, Sexsmith Rd junction, Highway 33 junction, the Parkinson Recreation Centre etc?  Or, have Tourism Kelowna fully take over the building and land the Chamber of Commerce occupies. The unimportant Chamber of Commerce can easily be relocated elsewhere.

A few kiosks are cheaper than a 5,000 sq ft building.  The 900 sq ft peek-a- boo outhouse in City Park cost $800,000.  So, imagine what a 5,000 sq ft. tourist centre would cost.  Why waste tax dollars on another grandiose boondoggle downtown?  Also, why surrender the public’s scarce waterfront land and priceless view to benefit the unworthy, selfish Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Association etc?

The proposed tourist Center on Queensway is another glitzy, nutty idea of exploiting and wrecking the waterfront by misguided city officials and by the short-sighted, self centered downtown business establishment. Fellow citizens; save our waterfront!  Send a loud message to city council that you don’t want them to waste your tax money on the big tourist centre eyesore anywhere near our waterfront.

Robert Cichocki,