To the editor:
Thanks, West Kelowna, for the opportunity for community input.
There is very limited information available as to the size of property required for a municipal office complex. Some years ago I envisioned a city hall at the present RCMP location, and am still disappointed that we now have law enforcement located at the most desirable location for many uses, other than the RCMP.
This is the opportunity to set the course for a vibrant downtown plan for the long term. It will take leadership, foresight, and courage. I am confident that we have all three.
The cost of the land, should be well down the list of priorities, and please forget a recreational component as part of this endeavour. This project, more than any other, will define our downtown.
Revelstoke has done something similar to what I’m suggesting, and in Revelstoke, people have a reason to go downtown.
This is an opportunity to make some sense of the one-way (traffic) debacle we have, and a (undertake a) rejuvenation of the old buildings in the old core, a short distance from the RCMP. At present, this area doesn’t even have a way to define it.
We should start at the present Salvation Army, and/or across from it, and redevelop the whole block as a municipal complex. Close the next block or two on Main Street to traffic, and re-direct Highway 97 down Dobbin as a two-way street with possibly four lanes. Main then becomes a great place to do business, a tourist attraction, and a walking mall.
Now you have the makings of a vibrant, interesting, attractive city core, after adding a city hall as the focal point, tourist center, wine industry headquarters, a bank or two, and related attractions.
The balance of the property would very quickly draw interest from private businesses.
We need to forever put the Westbank sentiment behind us, and become what we can be. A West Kelowna civic complex is a wonderful opportunity to create a heart for our city. Let’s do it.