Letter: West Kelowna council lacks visionaries

Just because money has been spent on a plan doesn’t mean that the plan can’t be revisited.

To the editor:

My husband and I moved to West Kelowna 10 years ago. We left a city that did not have a ‘vision’ for the centre in the 32 years we lived there. The result has been a hodge-podge of development.

West Kelowna council needs to stop and take a look at their vision for many years ahead. The location and plan chosen for the [proposed] civic centre totally lacks vision. What will West Kelowna look like in 30 years? Where is the major development currently? Is Bartley Road going to become the main artery from a new bridge and bypass? How did they choose the site they are promoting?

Like many residents of West Kelowna we have moved from ‘away’ to enjoy our retirement years in this beautiful valley. We want to see it develop in the most efficient way possible, using knowledgeable and creative minds in the development.

Just because money has been spent on a plan doesn’t mean that the plan can’t be revisited. The private developer of the [proposed] city hall plan should easily be able to find another investor—perhaps one more suitable?

The city has to borrow from the reserve fund as well as borrow from the bank to finance this plan. There isn’t even going to be adequate parking for the staff—the Lordco parking lot is designated for the parking, with busing being discussed to transport them to the new city hall. This plan was not designed by a visionary.

Having attended a council meeting in June regarding development of a greenbelt with the name of Vineyard Park on the corner of Vineyard and Ridge, I also question the transparency of our city council. An information meeting was held regarding Vineyard Park in January, followed by the invitation to fill in a questionnaire.

Those who filled in the questionnaire understood that they would be contacted regarding the proposed development. That did not happen. Council is spending approximately $175,000 to add fencing, benches, a sign and planting that requires water. That is all we have determined, to date. Our request for development was simply to lay more gravel on the path in the park and keep the weeds cut. We did not see the necessity of a proposed playground. The demographics of the area were not taken into consideration by the planning department. Surely there are other areas in West Kelowna that are lacking in park development where the need has already been determined? Why does this greenbelt need to be developed?

Traffic calming in our area has created more problems than it has solved. The city had $50,000 slated for traffic calming. The calming on Vineyard, Gregory and Mission Hill have simply become challenges to navigate and made the areas more dangerous. Drivers look at them as a challenge to drive around even more quickly than 50 km/h. The islands have been hit by vehicles on several occasions and the signage has been knocked over. Bikers are very frustrated that there isn’t a safe area for them through the calming.

Just because money was earmarked for these projects doesn’t mean that they are and were necessary. Why didn’t the city take this money and improve the biking lanes on Gellatly and Boucherie—the designated Wine Route. Where is the overall vision?

Transparency and vision in all areas of government is a concern to all citizens in Canada. Perhaps it could be more apparent at home.

Vote NO for the current city hall plan on Sept. 17—our council needs to be held accountable. We need a city hall, but not the one that is proposed. Rather, one we can afford and is in the best location for all of West Kelowna.

Susan Schultz, West Kelowna