Against high-rises downtown

Re. Don Henderson’s letter Unhappy with city direction (Castanet, Feb. 20)

I agree with Don Henderson, (Kelowna) has lost its way and is becoming uglier year by year.

Our planning department seems to bring forward even the most loathsome project and then recommends to council it be accepted. For whatever reason, the city rolls over and gives it the green light.

I have just returned from Europe where I was inspired by the art and architecture, some of it built centuries ago. I went to five capital cities—Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Zagreb—and not one has ugly high rises in the city centres. They build high rises, if necessary, out in the suburbs. Tower blocks are largely for low-income workers, whereas here they are overpriced condos.

What are we building that will inspire future generations? Will they look in awe at the rectangular concrete and glass structures? Most likely they will shake their heads and say "what were they thinking?”.

Not content with starting a 43-storey tower, Mission Group now wants to add another 40-storey tower, all in contravention of the (city’s) Official Community Pan.

The old Bargain Store (building) on Bernard Avenue was a bit of an eyesore, but nothing compared to what has replaced it. Was it designed by a 12-year-old in an art class?

I refuse to believe any self-respecting architect would want their name associated with this monstrosity. Yet somehow our city gave it the go ahead.

If the city must (allow) high rises, it would be better to set them well back from the lake, for example (at) the old Western Star site (on Enterprise Way). It is currently zoned industrial, although there is little industry going on there. Much of it is occupied by storage units, are they industrial?

Rezone that area as residential and it would be perfect. The rail trail is right next to it, it is within walking distance to the (Orchard Park Shopping Centre) and other shopping and is close to the highway and transit. Developers could build their high rises there and they wouldn't obstruct anybody's view.

Any progress towards building affordable housing is moving at snail's pace. This country needs to look at what our forefathers did after the war. They built prefabricated homes by the hundred until such time as construction could catch up with something better. How about using the empty field on Springfield, next to Fortis. as a development of hundreds of modular homes to be sold or rented to low income families? Frankly, I would rather see this than an overpriced new recreation centre.

I find myself questioning who runs this city. Is it the developers, the planning department or our elected officials?

Peter Emery, Kelowna

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