Weather only real hindrance to Bernard closure experiment

Positive signs on Bernard

So far, so good.

Now, if the weatherman would only co-operate.

That's the opinion of Downtown Kelowna Association executive director Mark Burley on the first week of the city's two month Bernard Avenue closure experiment.

Burley says he's impressed with the patios that have popped up, and is also encouraged some retailers have taken advantage of the closure by moving some of their products out onto the sidewalk.

The District, which is outside the closure area have also been participating.

"I think it's going great. The weather certainly hasn't co-operated with us," said Burley.

"The weekend was fabulous. It was really busy down here. It's a new thing, and I think people are still finding their way as we go along."

Aside from the erratic weather, Burley says the only real complaint he has heard is from some retailers who questioned why the closure went so far east when a majority of businesses who remain open late are those closer to the lake.

"This is what the city wanted to try. They wanted to see where it's going.

"If those spaces get more activated as we go through the summer...maybe some umbrellas and chairs coming out from the stores...but, we don't know. Festivals Kelowna is doing some activations in the 400 block on the weekends to help with that side."

He reiterated this is brand new. The city has never tried this on this grand a scale before.

"It's trial and error as we go through the summer."

But, he adds once the weather improves and more people come downtown, it can only help those businesses who were hurt hard by COVID-19.

"Creating traffic can only create good things for people downtown."

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