By Craig Kelley and Dale Manton – Save Downtown Kelowna Alliance
One can always tell when it’s spring-time in Kelowna. Not so much just from the departure of our not-so-appreciated winter companion the “low valley cloud”, nor the line ups at all the car washes in town or even the ramp up of golf course advertisements….no, it’s the annual spring chorus of Kelowna’s “boo birds” reminding us all of the horrible perils that any development of our waterfront will bring.
We’ve all read or heard them ad nauseum: cold and dark shadows enveloping the downtown core 24 hours a day…the loss of every citizen’s innocence and souls to the big, bad developers… a huge electric fence ensuring that only individuals with net worth’s over a million dollars will ever dip their feet into Lake Okanagan. And on and on it goes…
And to be very frank, it’s getting old. In the last civic election, the people of Kelowna spoke loud and clear – that we, the majority of citizens WANT to look at proposals that include a downtown water interface that is actually useable for its residents and tourists, instead of hiding the fact we sit beside one of the nicest lakes in the world. The mayor and every single councilor made their positions on downtown development abundantly clear, and almost to a ‘T’, every single member who got in had publicly stated that they felt downtown Kelowna needed a significant shot in the arm.
It really doesn’t need to be a scary notion. If you don’t believe it, just travel to a city who has beautiful waterfronts with – wait for it – TALL BUILDINGS! Imagine! San Diego, False Creek, Victoria…heck, even Penticton. It’s actually a significant benefit for a city to have commercial and residential activity along with useable public space along its waterfront…something Kelowna currently lacks.
I give all the credit in the world to the very vocal minority who sometimes make it seem like the majority of Kelowna’s citizens support your cause – you write a lot of articles and paint a lot of placards – but you are a few, and you need to step aside. The people have spoken.