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Dreams for Tolko site

My family moved to Kelowna from the Coast 27 years ago.

I remember boating by the (former Tolko) mill and imagining what that piece of waterfront could become for Kelowna.

I also thought that the Harvest Golf Club would be an incredible place to build a university campus. Given the choice, building a campus on the downtown waterfront would be second to none.

Those visions vanished when a site by the airport was chosen for the university. A few years later, the former KSS site (now Central Green) became available and a perfect location for a medical campus, close to the growing hospital, not far from the KLO (Okanagan College) campus, and next to downtown where people would live and play.

Instead, we ended up with a cluster of affordable housing rather than creating a mix of housing needs throughout the downtown.

Fast forward a couple of decades and the Tolko site is finally ready for something great. A university at this point would be redundant but perhaps something truly magnificent for Canada's most sought after city.

With all the other land in the North End ripe for density, this land could be reserved something even more important than our beloved City Park. A legacy for generations.

With the power of zoning, mayor and city council have the ability to make this a reality. At this time, however, they think in terms of getting even more revenue from development.

The Tolko site will likely be carved up like Central Green for highrises. Some of the land will be used for public access but they will have otherwise sold out and missed the last opportunity to maintain Kelowna as one of the best places to live in Canada.

Michael Neill, Kelowna

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