Last fall, the hottest item Kelowna council was dealing with was the controversy over the proposal to build a big building on the waterfront at the foot of Cedar Avenue in the South Pandosy area.
Most of the public felt this property should be a park and, after much controversy and numerous meetings, the building proposal was killed by council.
The recommendation by council was to conduct a public study in early 2012 to study alternatives and determine what would be the most desirable use for this valuable piece of property.
Then a new council was elected and many of the councillors who understood the issues were voted out of office. There has been no action since. The recommended public study has never been started.
The old, city-owned rental houses on this beautiful piece of lakefront property just sit there deteriorating while the public is denied access to a new park that could be one of the jewels of Kelowna.
This property consists of about 900 feet of lakeshore studded with many large trees, some of which likely fall into the heritage category. The bay the property straddles is home to numerous waterfowl and predatory birds. Osprey, bald eagles, kingfishers and even the occasional golden eagle can be seen diving into the shallow waters to catch its prey.
But right now that view is blocked by eight old rental houses the city has owned for about 20 years.
This is a property that is only one block from the heart of the vibrant and rapidly growing South Pandosy commercial centre and within an easy walk of many condominium complexes.
The area calls itself "the Village by the Lake," but, unfortunately, it is not. However, with the proper vision by council and some work and money, it could be.
The work involved would not be significant compared to other projects already underway in the area. The money involved to demolish the houses and build a park would be comparable to the cost of the new offices at the dump.
Additionally, a clear decision by the city to proceed with this project will eliminate the uncertainty that clouds the area between Abbott and Pandosy streets and will encourage developers to turn that land which now is predominantly covered by old rental houses into an upscale, attractive and tax-paying feature of Kelowna.
Now is the time for council and city management to act courageously and not be discouraged by the fact that their last attempt to do something with this property brought so much public opposition.
Please write a letter to the editor or contact a city councillor to make your feelings known.
Otherwise, the city will likely continue to procrastinate until a developer comes forth with a plan for the property.
Bob and Rachel Whitehead,