In part six of our 10 part series questioning the 31 candidates running for one of eight councillor positions in Kelowna, Castanet News asked each candidate:
Question #6 - The next council will likely have to decide on the future look of Cedar Avenue Park. How would you like to see the park developed?
--Note: Candidates who do not appear did not send in an answer in time for this feature.
Billie Aaltonen - I think its best to let the tax payers decide this one. I will support the majority.
Ken Chung - My preference would to see what was set aside to be park land be park land, but when future lands are added to the park they should include some necessary service buildings.
Cal Condy - Park...and it certainly doesn't cost 3 million to plant some grass!!!
Maxine DeHart - The Park is now zoned as a park “forever”. This is something that no other city council has accomplished in the past 20 years. At this time, there is no budgeting to continue with this initiative. I was supportive of the lease of space to the Paddle Centre in that location.
Ryan Donn - Spending $5 million in Ceder Avenue Park would literally mean a 5% tax increase. I don't think anyone is interested in spending that when we have other priorities that need attention (for example: investing in our other neighbourhoods like Rutland, etc). I'm still disappointed that we didn't go for the no cost option that the charrette presented to the city council and I applaud Luke Stack and Gail Given for voting for that option. Moving forward we need to find an affordable option that also ensures that it is an animated public space that our community uses rather than an empty green space that attracts uses we would rather not have there.
Ken Finney - I would like Cedar Avenue Park to be parkland as green space, eliminating the commercial aspect.
Gail Given - I believe that when funds are available to proceed, further public engagement should take place similar to that which was done for City Park. There were many great ideas that emerged from the Charette process that could be considered during the engagement process. I believe this is the correct place for a Paddle Centre and am excited about the opportunities it will bring our citizens.
Carol Gran - We have committed to respect decisions made by the current Council and that stands. That doesn’t mean we aren’t open to suggestions, in fact we plan to provide time at each regular Council meeting for public comment.
Tracy Gray - As I have been meeting with citizens and community associations, the Cedar Avenue Park is certainly an important topic that is on many people’s minds. The first step for a future park was for the current council to rezone all the plots on the waterfront a as park. There is a contract in place with the Kelowna Paddle Club that can be cancelled or renewed, so this can be adjusted. Eco friendly water sports are good for our community and we really need to see how the use of this space develops. I believe Cedar Park with lake access needs to be a park that all citizens should be able to enjoy.
Charlie Hodge - I believe we need to go back a few steps and reconsider the debacle that recently took place. The charette criterion was a charade, and the entire process and eventual outcome a classic example of senior staff manipulating and pushing their plans past council and the public. At the end of the day the paddle club organization (which was not even in the picture when the park issue was first debated) was placed into direct conflict with some residence while everyone forgot the main issue which was whether there should have even been a two-storey or larger commercial building considered on the site. There is no reason Cedar Ave. park could not be quickly established as a no- frill, public green space for now while a future enhanced park plan is properly set in place.
Beryl Itani - I need more information on this, however, I believe that we need park areas for families.
Graeme James - There have been decisions and commitments already made by the present Council which any future Council should honour.
Leslie Kendall - I would like to see the park developed with the most possible input from the local neighbourhood.
Bobby Kennedy - I would like to see the park developed with the same charm and characteristics that south Pandosy area has. I want it to be a place that all areas of our city are excited to use and talk about.
Mike McLoughlin - All City parks need to be open and accessible for all citizens. The Cedar creek proposal was delayed unnecessarily. We need to move this forward.
Gwen Miles - To help offset costs, l would like to see a mix use of Commercial and pleasure created for the 2.3 Acre site. In a perfect world it would be all park. However, if we can pull or hold back, even 30% for commercial, then it pays for itself. If its not self sustaining, we the citizens will pay for it one way or another. Lets put that burden onto self sustainable.
Alan Monk - Support for parks and public spaces is one of the highest stated priorities for me. (See votemonk.com) The development of Cedar Park will facilitate a significant increase in access to Okanagan Lake and a legacy for future generations so I prefer the larger sized option requiring additional funding. Although this additional funding requirement may lead to delays in its development, I would be an advocate for reducing that delay as much as budget constraints would allow.
David Mossman - The city should spend very little money on this park as there are lots of other priorities. If anything they should look at community organizations to help build the park toward a balanced vision. DO NOT give away land to developers to just make quick cash as once you loose that potential greenspace youll never get it back.
Dale Olson - I think Council's duty is to make decisions that create the greatest benefit to the most people. While I know some will disagree I am not afraid to take a stance. I really like the recent arrangement with the Kelowna Paddle Center. This club is not exclusive in any way, membership and fees are minimal and for non-members drop-in fees to use their equipment and experience paddling is $10! Best deal in town. Paddling is an eco-friendly, healthy activity on Okanagan lake I wish to support; as well, it will only help our tourism here in the Okanagan.
Brad Sieben - I believe it is important to listen to the residents that live in the vicinity and all members of the community that have the ability to access both the park and Okanagan Lake. Finding funds to develop the park in a timely manner is the first step and challenge. There must be a desire to work to find a balance for all potential users of the park and the lake for both recreation and relaxation.
Mohini Singh - I’d like to see the park developed for MULTI USE and MULTI DEMOGRAPHICS. The park must be more than a place with green grass. It is for all ages; children, families, youth and seniors. There is the space for diversity and our City needs to get the best value for its dollar.
Derek Somer - Parks in Kelowna are a luxury that business cannot afford. To reach out to business, all City Parks should be sold to the highest bidder and the proceeds used to reduce business tax to zero as long as the money lasts. Future council members and Mayor who are involved in the buying and selling of real estate should be allowed a conflict of interest exemption and receive their full fees on all park property sold. While I personally disagree, I am smart enough that business will carry the day and not being able to bring your kids, as a average working person, to the beach will soon be forgotten.
Luke Stack - Currently, Council has not placed the development of this park in the 10 year capital plan. The Public made it clear that they are willing to wait for this new park, provided the City keeps all lakefront lots as parkland. Council responded to this direction by rezoning all lots as future parkland in October 2014.
Laura Thurnheer - I would like to see this park open for all stakeholder groups and access to the lake being maintained for public use. I believe special interest groups interests can also be accommodated as well allowing them partial access to part of the property for storage and club related facilities. I would like to see this area remain as a park and the land used as its original intent as park land on the lake for our citizens to enjoy. I would like to see it developed as soon as the budget will allow however as this property has sat vacant for long enough.
Sean Upshaw - The city conducted a Charrete and then turned it into a Charade. Instead of a legacy we got a controversial decision that only a select few are happy with. For decades the city has been buying up these precious waterfront properties for the use of the entire public to use from Glenmore to Rutland. Then some how they were put between a rock and a hard place in having to deny a well meaning Paddle Board club the somewhat exclusive right to the use of this park. Everyone realizes the good aspects of the Paddle club and that they deserve a place to operate out of, but this came at the expense of the true intention of decades of work. With this next statement I will kiss good by to the Paddle Club vote but if I were on council we would have kept the Charrette and not made it in to a Charade. This decision cast shame on an otherwise stellar term of the outgoing council. However it is my understanding that there is a 6 month back out clause by both parties, which I would look in to exercising. Upon successfully gaining back control of Cedar Avenue Park, I would encourage city council to develop the park at least to a basic standard until it can be turned in to the Pandosy Waterfront Park it was meant to be where tax paying citizens can take a much needed break from the activities of life and simply enjoy the water that is so precious to all of us. If Paddle boarders want to join in because the location is good for paddling by all means, share the park. Another less obtrusive location for this club should be found after all this is only fair and demonstrates good citizenship.
Dayleen Van Ryswyk - I would like to see it developed as a multi use park. I don’t have a problem having a private element to it, but it should predominantly be for public use. The way the council recently gave the beach away to a private club, I think is against what most people wanted or expected. Being as though we are a lake community, I strongly believe we need to preserve as much waterfront for public use as possible.