Municipal Elections 2014  

Hole in downtown plan

It would appear TaxpayersFirst did not do their due diligence in putting forth a plan to revitalize Kelowna's Cultural District.

The plan, unveiled Monday morning, calls for construction of a new 2,500 seat community theatre and water filled canals in place of several city streets in the district.

TaxpayersFirst claimed they plan to pay for the projects with proceeds from the sale or lease of the soon-to-be former RCMP detachment property as well as property across the street which houses Memorial Arena and the City Hall parking lot.

The problem arises from the Simpson Covenant which states the entire municipal block, which includes lands from Water Street to Ellis street and Doyle Avenue to Queensway Avenue remain non-commercialized.

Construction of commercial buildings anywhere within that block would go against the covenant.

"That very well may be. I guess we would have to cross that bridge, or canal when we get to it," says Gran in response.

"I still think, I know that's a hurdle for sure, and maybe it will cut down on any money we might be able to make. It will be real sad if it keeps us from doing it."

Gran says the plan for the canal system and theatre may still become a reality off the profits realized through sale of the RCMP property.

She adds the proposal put forth is just a vision "and visions change."

"It gives you an idea what the downtown area, the core where City Hall is could look like.

I think any obstacles there, I think we can overcome them. Yes, maybe because of the Simpson Covenant we won't make the kind of money on the property, but that doesn't mean we can't do it."

Gran believes the current RCMP property should fetch more than the $6M the former KSS site (Central Green) sold for.

"The piece of property where the police building is, when you see what we're suggesting, you'll know why it is worth a lot more."

Outgoing Councillor, Andre Blanleil, also questions the downtown project.

"How is this ever going to be built. To put this on here is so far from reality the public should be shocked and disappointed that they didn't do the research that they can't even sell those properties," says Blanleil.

TaxpayersFirst has also unveiled campaign promises in which they pledge $5M for improvements in Rutland and to the Southeast Kelowna Irrigation District on the back of projects concerning the Regional District and CN Rail properties.


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