Letter: Will latest public park go to private interests again?

Kelowna has purchased 2.9 acres of lake-front for a public beach…will dog owners be stonewalled again?

To the editor:

The news this week that Kelowna has purchased 2.9 acres of lake-front for a public beach may one day be good news for Kelowna’s residents. If a public beach is indeed developed there, then the $12 million price paid to acquire the properties will have been well spent.

But I am too skeptical to rejoice, because the city has owned 13 lake-front properties along Abbott and Walnut streets at the foot of Cedar Avenue for many years. These properties, which the city calls South Pandosy Waterfront Park, were also purchased for parkland, but instead of being developed into a 900-foot linear park, for all to enjoy, the city leased four of them (240 feet of lakeshore) to the Kelowna Paddle Centre in 2013. Then instead of demolishing the old rental houses on the remaining properties, the city renovated them, thereby signalling a park was not in the offing.

A faint hope for the park remains—the Kelowna 2030 Plan, released last week, does show that $2 million is allocated for South Pandosy Waterfront Park in 2027.

Perhaps the 2.9 acres property will become a park without the use of polls, surveys, open houses, public hearings and signs telling local residents “It’s Your Neighbourhood.” I hope so.

The public’s participation in the City’s input-seeking methods did not materialize into a public park for Cedar Avenue. However, the Kelowna Paddle Centre was able to obtain council’s unanimous approval to lease four of the properties for a private-pay members club. It’s public, as long as you can pay the annual fee.

Meanwhile, residents have to wait until 2027 for the remaining nine properties to be developed into a public park. By then, will anyone remember that a park was meant to be there?

There is a relatively frugal way to use three more of the South Pandosy Waterfront Park properties: A dog beach along Abbott Street between Cedar Avenue and the Paddle Centre. It would end the parks department’s decade-long search for an urban dog beach and save the City $7,500 for a dog survey next year.

Where paddlers’ requests were welcomed unanimously by council, dog owners have been stonewalled for years. Quality fencing, similar to the black-coated chain-link on Gordon by the Mission Sports Fields, would ensure that the park’s appearance is in keeping with the neighbourhood.

The City spent $25,000 in tax dollars to prepare the paddlers’ site.  The same amount can be found to prepare the dog park. No survey was held about the paddlers’ claim. But, where there is a will, there is a way, as was demonstrated by the generosity to paddlers.

Helen Schiele, Kelowna


Just Posted

Jury finds Chad Alphonse ** in murder trial

Kelowna jury delivers its verdict a day after starting its deliberations.

Heavy rain causes flooding in the Central Okanagan

Portion of lower Glenrosa Road closed due to flooding

Feature Friday: Is the sky the limit for downtown Kelowna construction?

City building up, not out, as high rise living becomes more popular

Wild weather leads to power outages

Thousands woke up in the dark this morning, as Fortis crews scrambled to get power up and running.

CNIB promises to respond to criticism

Blind community advocates call for inclusion initiatives

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Are you going to turn off the lights for Earth Hour?

BC Hydro report says fewer people in the province are taking part, but feel it’s still important

Marijuana edibles won’t be regulated in 2018

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

Letter: Speculation tax outrage ignores the most vulnerable

Kelowna letter-writer says it’s the rich and development crowd who are against the new tax

Rainstorm causes road flooding in South Okanagan

Flood assessments conducted in Okanagan Falls and Naramata

Fat joke on B.C. school’s sign not appropriate, woman says

Surrey mother says weight issues are no laughing matter

McMaster out, Bolton in as Trump’s national security adviser

President Donald is replacing National security adviser H.R. McMaster with John Bolton

Two killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

French counterterrorism prosecutors are taking charge of the investigation into the shooting of a police officer in southern France

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read