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Vernon  

Battle of words goes on

A group of residents living near Okanagan College's Vernon campus has taken the battle against a proposed amphitheatre to the society in favour of the project.

In a letter to the Okanagan Summer Festival Society directors, the residents list the negative impacts of an amphitheatre in their area.

“Do you know that this location, the Kickwillie gully in front of Okanagan College, Vernon campus, is closely surrounded on three sides by residential areas and one other close by?” asks Joan Rowan, spokesperson for the Friends of Kickwillie Gully neighbourhood group.

“If this were your home, would you want a large amphitheatre built close to your property or bordering on your property line? Would you appreciate people from somewhere else trying to convince you that it would be great if they built something you didn’t want in your backyard? That’s how we feel.”

Meanwhile, the society has been working on the possible cost of the project, which was estimated in the five to $10 million range. Up to 5,500 people would be accommodated, in seats and slope areas, under the current proposal.

Rowan lists a number of concerns, including the impact to the ecosystem, drainage, parking, traffic congestion, noise, disorderly conduct and even attracting the homeless.

“Would this facility become a homeless shelter as happened with the covered grandstand at the race track and covered bleachers in Polson Park?” asks Rowan. “More vandalism, theft, garbage, drugs, alcohol, fire. Both structures were set on fire, and had to be demolished by the city.

“What have you been told about the amount of opposition by residents? In case you don’t know, the opposition is huge and passionate, and it won’t go away.”

Rowan said the group is not fearful of change, “only fearful of change that would negatively affect our lives as this proposed project would.”

The group asks the society to re-evaluate its plans.

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