Steeves/Trail Mix: Air your concerns about new City Park plan

You have to question the thinking that has resulted in a decision to bring tourists in big rigs to park downtown in City Park.

In plans for updated City Park

In plans for updated City Park

There are aspects of the proposed new design for Kelowna’s City Park that are quite exciting.

But, it’s a long-term plan that should constitute the vision of the people of Kelowna and also be a plan that will work—not one that includes compromises that will prevent it from being viable.

I have been convinced of the importance of constructing another building in this downtown park, a pavilion where washrooms could be located and that is staffed on a regular basis for security reasons as well as efficiency.

It stands to reason that visitors to Kelowna and to the park will tend to stop there and ask questions and expect to be able to pick up maps and brochures and information about the area, so that should be included.

With that in mind, it makes sense to include the Tourism Kelowna offices there. Perhaps the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association should rent space there too.

However, I still maintain it’s ludicrous to encourage motorhomes and people hauling travel trailers to drive into downtown Kelowna for tourist information, particularly now that travel has been reduced to one lane each way on the new, improved main drag.

Tourism Kelowna needs to locate tourist information booths on the highways entering Kelowna at both ends, for rubber tire traffic, particularly big rigs, rather than luring them into the centre of the city, if downtown is to truly be pedestrian-oriented.

If those tourists are of interest to businesses in downtown Kelowna, (and they ought to be as they have money), then a spacious, secure parking area for big rigs needs to be set aside near the downtown area, just off the highway. That would allow those tourists to walk to City Park and stroll through downtown and along the beach, leaving behind a trail of greenbacks.

Then it wouldn’t be necessary to destroy any more of the green space (actually, it would be the rose gardens and tulip-bordered Veendam Way) in City Park for an asphalt parking lot for recreational vehicles.

RVs will just snarl traffic up something fierce trying to turn left out of City Park to head downtown, or to turn right and get back on the highway—if they’re headed south on the highway.

But, what about visitors travelling north? How will they get from the new Tourism Kelowna office in City Park to where they can turn left onto Highway 97 to go northbound? They’ll either have to travel back across the bridge to West Kelowna, take the double roundabout to get back onto the bridge—again—and head north, or they’ll have to drive through narrow streets in downtown Kelowna to make a left turn at Ellis or Richter.

Do we really want visitors driving big rigs using downtown streets just to access the highway? It makes no sense to me. We need to reduce traffic congestion downtown, not increase it.

Pedestrian-friendly, remember?

And the other issue I’m not excited about in the new plan for City Park, is it unceremoniously deleted the historic lawn bowling facility, which has held a place in the park for some 80 years, and which encourages seniors to enjoy their park as well as toddlers, teens and families.

That’s just plain wrong.

If you haven’t already, make your feelings known about these two deficiencies in the new plan.

The deadline for comment is Monday, July 15 at: www.kelowna.ca/mycitypark or you can contact city hall or a city councillor by phone, e-mail or mail.

 

Upcoming

The annual Fintry Summer Fair is Sun., July 14, at Fintry Provincial Park off Westside Road, to celebrate B.C. Parks Day.

An early bird pancake breakfast will run from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and then the fair will open with the Kalamalka Pipe Band. Artists and artisans will exhibit their work, and collectibles will be up for sale.

A barbecue lunch will be available at noon, and there’ll be live music in the afternoon.

Admission to the grounds and tours of the Manor House and barns will be by donation, with proceeds going to continued upkeep and restoration work on the historic buildings.

That same morning, there’ll be nearly 800 cyclists gathering at Myra for the 80-kilometre ride down to Penticton, where they’ll be wined and dined.

A portion of the proceeds from this non-competitive, family event, will go toward upkeep of the trail that is part of the Trans Canada Trail, through historic Myra Canyon, by the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society.

Called the Okanagan Trestles Tour, organizer Glenn Bond says it celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire that destroyed most of the wooden trestle bridges in the canyon.

Incidentally, the route will be closed to motorized traffic from 9 a.m. to noon from the Gillard Forest Service Road to Chute Lake Lodge Sunday morning to accommodate the tour.

The trestles were rebuilt and re-opened five years ago.

Hope everyone has fun!

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

Kelowna Capital News