I write in support of letters to the editor by Sharron Simpson and Michael Neill (Courier, Aug. 24, Aug. 28), both well-known for their love of Kelowna.
The City of Kelowna’s decision to sell the former RCMP property on Doyle Avenue is ill-conceived. It is a terrible decision, which will not benefit our citizens, today or in years to come.
What is behind the decision to sell this valuable publically-owned asset? As Neill suggests, is it to pay the bills? If so, then selling this asset — a piece of prime real estate in the heart of Kelowna’s cultural district — makes no sense. There are better ways to generate revenues, but they require imagination and planning ... something which city council and Kelowna’s planning department lack.
Seeking answers, I phoned city hall and left a message. I received a return call from a gentleman in the city’s real estate department, affording me the opportunity to get answers about the loss of the former RCMP property into private hands.
I asked if there was any opportunity for public input into the sale of this property and was informed that input was requested. Were there any public hearings or meetings about the property in question? I was told that this property was part of a bigger plan and input had been sought about this larger plan.
I opined that the fate of the former RCMP property is a special issue, which must be dealt with separately, not buried and hidden in other issues. The sale of this property is a major decision, deserving public input.
The city staffer said that there is strong public support for the sale of the Doyle Avenue property. I suggested that support instead comes from developers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the real estate community. I have talked to no one who is thrilled about having retail space and luxury condominiums on what is currently a public amenity.
Finally, I was told that condominiums within Kelowna’s cultural district follows council’s desire for densification, having people access that part of our city. There are already numerous condominiums along Ellis Street, beside the cultural district.
Residential and retail development within the cultural district is detrimental to the intended public use and benefit of that part of Kelowna.
I encourage people to let their elected council know of their feelings about this important issue.
After all, who is running our city?