The Royal visit to Kelowna

Well the royals have come and gone to our amazing Okanagan Valley. I see that we are on CNN and BBC news sites. Fantastic. 

My daughter and I stood for 5 1/2 hours to have primo viewing of the royal visit on Tuesday. We were right near the stage surrounded by other royal fanatics. It was a great time! I have some personal observations about what we saw and heard. 

If any of you noticed the flowers at the front of the platform were a complete disgrace. Is that really the best you could do UBCO? Really? Silk flowers that looked like a five year old arranged them. For all your assets and arts programs couldn’t someone have arranged something with local produce to promote what we are about in the valley. Fruits like apples, pears, grapes or pumpkins. Something that looked like time and effort and thought had been placed into it. A missed opportunity.

The speeches given were another missed opportunity. They were beyond boring. I can’t imagine having to sit through hundreds of such speeches as the Duke and Duchess do and look remotely interested. They were the model of decorum however, but I think they looked bored and tuned out. I was too. There was no attempt to be informative about where they were visiting and what makes the Okanagan such a wonderful place to live. A historical story about the university - a former student who went on to do great things - anything to make the stop in Kelowna stand out to the Royal couple. Chief Kruger your comments appeared unprepared and off the cuff. At such an important occasion I felt it was an embarrassment.

It was exciting to see William and Kate with my own two eyes. I met, shook hands and talked with Prince Charles in his and Diana’s visit to Kelowna in ’86. What an exciting opportunity on Tuesday - one that was massively missed by those in positions of authority during the UBCO visit by the Royal couple. I commend William and Kate for always appearing fresh and interested in repetitive ceremonies that must be mind numbing and stultifying. Add UBCO visit to that list.

Debbie Grauman


Cedar Avenue Park

Richard Drinnan's recent letter to the Editor gave a very thorough and accurate chronological accounting of the events that have taken place to date regarding the City-owned lakefront properties at the foot of Cedar Avenue in South Pandosy Village.  There are 13 waterfront lots on this beautiful bay that the city completed purchasing almost 20 years ago. Two years ago, after much public input, City council wisely agreed to re-zone all this land to P-3 Parkland.  
However, since then City management continues to claim that no money is available to build the park for at least another 10 years.  How much can it possibly cost to build a park when no structures are required?  Most recently, they even turned down a request from the public to just let a small part of this land be used as a dog swimming beach. 
For some unfathomable reason, City management has decided that a new waterfront public park is not needed even though the 2014 City-sponsored public charrette recommended it.

  • Is it because they hope to be able to erect buildings one day such as are allowed under the P-3 zoning instead of a pristine green-space linear park?
  • Are they waiting for the right developer to come along and concrete this waterfront claiming that anything would be a better use than the present wasteland of deteriorating homes they control?
  • With the rise in real estate prices is this waterfront land now too valuable to just use as a public park even though it has already been purchased?

The South Pandosy area is one of the fastest growing and most desired parts of our city.  At least six developments are either under construction or planned and it is reasonable to expect a significant increase in the local area population.  Despite its present sorry state, the Pandosy waterfront is currently one of the most desirable spaces to walk, run, bike or drive. Nine-hundred feet of open waterfront space complemented with plenty of contemporary development just waiting to happen on the opposite side of Abbott Street would easily make this one of Kelowna's most appealing assets.
We ask the City to please be upfront with the taxpayer and tell us why this park could not be started today to allow the legacy vision initiated by previous city councils to finally begin. 

Bob Whitehead

Dog beach site on hold

Neither a paddle club nor a dog beach was in the plans when the city purchased 11 properties for a future Cedar Avenue Park.  Whatever the plans were during the acquisition period - 1989 to 1997, Kelowna has become a vibrant tourist resort in the Central Okanagan.  Kelowna's new image called for a paddle centre. Council agreed. Public support now calls for a dog beach. The difference?  The paddle club was accepted without public consultation, while dog beaches needed months of surveys and public consultation.  
This year, following a number of surveys conducted by Parks, the City learned that an estimated 38% of households have one or more dogs. That's a large and economically important portion of the population. Seventy-six percent of respondents would like to see more dog beaches, and 76% wanted them in their neighbourhoods. Among the four dog beach sites chosen, the Cedar Avenue location received the greatest public endorsement. The greater support did not ease the transition to a dog park however, because the future of the Cedar Avenue road end and the remaining properties have been deferred to 2027 by which time the City may have decided on the nature of the development. 
The City has patience to wait another ten years.  But why could not a small dog beach be welcomed by the City now? There would still be room for a grassy parkland on either side of the dog park. Indeed, there would even be room for a boutique hotel and lakeside promenades. Who is to say that future boutique hotel guests would not welcome a place where their pooches can swim?  Urban off-leash dog parks or beaches need not look like a wasteland.  They could easily fit in well with other neighbourhood parks if the same development and maintenance budget were allocated to them as to, say, sports fields.  Kelowna has changed since the last Cedar Avenue Park properties were purchased. Perhaps people in the Mission area would like a boutique hotel where they may dine with visitors who see dogs as part of their life styles and would be willing to allow them a swim in the dog beach.  Does it have to be either or, them versus us?  I think the properties could happily accommodate a boutique hotel, dog beach users, the Kelowna Paddle Centre, and offer the general public pathways to enjoy a view of the lake.  A ten-year delay is unnecessary if people try to understand each other and their needs.

Helen Schiele

Feds monitoring economy

Our Bank of Canada does not have vaults filled with electronic cash. As remarkable as it may seem, the Bank (owned 100% by the federal government) simply creates money whenever needed by computer entry. It follows that the federal government can never run out of Canadian dollars. This explains how immediately after the 2008 financial crisis the Harper government without raising taxes was able to bail out big institutional lenders by replenishing their coffers through a $200 billion "Extraordinary Financing Framework".

The federal government can either spend too much causing inflation, or spend too little allowing mass unemployment. Since currently there are 1.3 million Canadians looking for work, it is clear that the federal government is nowhere near expending enough. Increased infrastructure renewal should be supplemented by creation of community-level jobs so that all skill levels can be put back to work as soon as possible.  As John Maynard Keynes once noted, "Look after the unemployment, and the Budget will look after itself."

Larry Kazdan

An expanding city

I have lived in Westbank for 15 of the past 17 years, and the West Kelowna we see today is not the Westbank when I first moved here. Far from it. 

The city is expanding, in some ways, where the municipal government cant keep up. And that is where I believe we need a proper town hall. 

I would love to see a fantastic building go up that would be a landmark and worth showing off, this is what they have designed and proposed. But the problem is it’s going to cost over 7 million dollars. It’s great that the building will have all of these other amenities, but I honestly think that those additional amenities are excuses to make the extravagant building. 

Do we need another interior health office? Last I checked they were everywhere. 

Now, there are things that the city needs that they haven’t kept up with, mainly sidewalks. As I drove a lot of places, I never really noticed the lack of sidewalks until a popular mobile game came out that encouraged walking to places. Suddenly i realized that Old Okanagan Highway, as well as Shannon Lake Drive, had barely any sidewalks at all. Next to the highway, these are two of the busiest roads in the city, being the main roads for a large number of housing. 

Unless you drive, which not everyone does, its really difficult for someone to walk to even the bus stop, let alone the grocery store. 

Now, there is a common ground in this. 

I would be happy to see a town hall go up, that doesn’t have the extra offices to it that we really don’t need, still look really nice, but maybe only cost three million. A fraction of what they want to spend. The extra money goes into things that we really need, like the sidewalks that this city heavily lacks. 

Jordan Wickett

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