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Pavilion re-build a challenge

A movement to re-build the City Park pavilion, which burned down nearly five decades ago, will be a challenge.

That according to veteran City Councillor Robert Hobson.

The pavilion was one of the main focal points in the park until it burned to the ground in 1969.

Instead of re-building the facility, the city decided to replace it with the Parkinson Rec Centre which opened with an outdoor pool in 1973.

The pool was then enclosed and opened in 1974.

Hobson says he does understand the lure of wanting to re-build a facility he says provided magical times when he was a kid but wonders if it is practical.

"It's a nice nostalgic thing and I know it's part of Kelowna's history to have an entertainment place on the waterfront but I don't know if it's likely we will see that again," says Hobson.

"The cost of the infrastructure, the fact we've made investments in other kinds of infrastructure that do the same things suggests to me it will be pretty hard to bring that together."

Hobson says as he remembers, competitive swimming was already declining as swimmers favoured indoor pools to lakes for competitive meets.

And as a venue for concerts and performances, Hobson says other facilities have since been built.

"We've built the facilities down near the Grand, we have the island stage, we have a place for entertainment now.

You can't put 2,000 people there but you can have something of a reasonable scale."

A potential re-build of the pavilion is not part of the city's overall 20-year plan and is not included in a planned restructuring of City Park itself.

Aside from cost Hobson says other issues make it a difficult proposition.

"You have issues of how do people get there and is there adequate parking," says Hobson.

"Since then we have put the Cenotaph and Veendam Walkway and the gardens that would be somewhat impinged upon by a new facility. It would be challenging to fit that into the park as it sits today."

Despite his comments Hobson says he wouldn't try and persuade the pavilion group from carrying on.

"I never tell people not to dream because great things only happen with great dreams.

I just think it is going to be a bit of an uphill battle given the resources spent on other things and the other priorities the city and the province have."


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