Municipal Elections 2014  

Waterways, theatre for downtown

TaxpayersFirst are proposing a new look for downtown Kelowna.

At a media briefing Monday morning, the five-candidate party seeking seats on City Council unveiled a new P4 project that will radically change the face of the city's Cultural District.

The new look would include a new 2,500 seat community theatre and a series of canals stretching from the lake to Ellis Street and Queensway to Cawston.

Party founder, and council candidate Carol Gran, says the idea is the 'ultimate in revitalization for our Cultural District downtown.'

"We will pay for that theatre through a P4 process in selling some of the vacant lands in the downtown area. We've needed a 2,500 seat theatre for a long time," says Gran

"Having waterways running through the downtown core will be an incredible experience for people that are in their boats driving through it, for people that are walking downtown it will just take downtown in a totally different direction."

TaxpayersFirst candidate Dale Olson says construction of the canal system and the theatre would not cost the taxpayer a cent.

We're doing this through the P4 initiative and the fourth P is profit. The lands involved here are lands we own already through the city," says Olson.

"For example the RCMP land... what are we going to do with that property? We have the old Memorial Arena... sooner or later it's going to have to be demolished, it's at the end stage of its life. This whole area is very valuable commercial land and it's owned by the people already."

He says by selling off the lands they would be able to pay for these two initiatives.

Olson suggests the ice sheet at Memorial Arena would remain with commercial space built above.

TaxpayersFirst suggest they will have more than enough money to pay for the new downtown initiatives that will become clear later this week.

The canal system would be tailored after a similar river walk in San Antonio, Texas.

Boating traffic would have access off the lake, allowing boaters to come into the downtown area to eat or shop.

"We've both been to San Antonio for business conventions and that river walk is what makes San Antonio a great city. There was resistance early on in the early stages of the concept of a river walk in a downtown Texas city," says Olson.

"I don't think anyone has ever suggested anything this incredible," added Gran, who says people and water are a great mix.

They suggested if it gets cold enough in the winter people could skate along the canal.

"We're trying to demonstrate thinking outside the box," says Gran.

"We have to think long term when we do things because we have such a special downtown."


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