Bring stalls back to City Park

Open letter to Kelowna’s mayor and council

During the summer, Kelowna’s City Park is bland and lacking in vitality.

Yes, plenty of people visit City Park, but something is lacking. Years ago there were many stalls in the park selling assorted crafts and products, as well as services from palm reading to henna application.

The council of the day decided the products on sale in City Park were not up to a suitable standard. People needed to be protected and not be able to waste their money on items that the city perceived to be junk.

The city’s solution was to jury vendors’ products and only the “best” were allowed to have stalls in the park. Sadly those vendors faded away because there was not enough variety in style and cost to attract many customers.

Now Kelowna’s City Park is bare. No vendors, no life and action beyond walkers, swimmers, kids playing in the water park and skateboarders.

Dollar stores now abound selling just about everything you could think of (junk or not) and they have no shortage of customers. Everyone has their own taste. I might think an item is trashy that someone else loves. A child might have very little cash but want to buy a souvenir of their trip to Kelowna.

I believe the time is right to allow vendors (who have a business license) back into the park. It will add a more human touch to the park. All of the open air markets I have visited in B.C. give a sense of life being lived with enthusiasm. I think it will add that little something that has been missing for so long in City Park.

In a report to to Penticton council it said: “Vendors make an important contribution to our walkways, providing much colour and liveliness, as well as a reason for people to walk and spend time outdoors during the summer months. Vending also provides job opportunities and employment for our residents”

Penticton’s street and park markets attract tourists and brighten up the town.

All over the world, people are drawn to crowds and purchasing opportunities in suqs, bazaars and markets. Kelowna needs tourists and markets attract them.

Heather Yeats, West Kelowna

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