If you don’t live in area, Gyro Beach will be hard to get to

Dear Editor: 

Construction on the recently approved Stober development by Gyro Beach in South Pandosy has begun with the closing of the city parking lot and the loss of 119 parking stalls. 

On Thursday at 1 p.m., the remaining beach parking lot was full and the nearby street parking was full and chaotic. City development and council made no arrangement for weekend and summer traffic. 

Few people live close enough to the beach to walk with beach gear. 

Parking on nearby streets will spread further until it is no longer viable to drive to the beach and walk six or more blocks with a family, chairs, toys, towels, food for a few hours of fun. 

Units in the new building are not affordable family housing. 

The beach is becoming an exclusive park for the nearby residents.  

While our city council approved this, city staff sold our city beach to benefit a developer for a song. 

Hard questions need to be asked of the city about who is benefitting from this. It is not the people of Kelowna. 

Please consider this issue in the next municipal election, but we need to demand accountability from the city.

Not enough benefit — or parking — was negotiated, unless there is a deal we can’t see.

Ruth Rochlin, Kelowna

Strong Okanagan participation in Alzheimer Walk

Dear Editor: 

On behalf of the Alzheimer Society of B.C., I would like to thank the people of the Okanagan for participating in the 2021 IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s.

They joined thousands of people in communities across the province and walked their own way in May to show their support for people affected by dementia. Participants got active and showed tremendous creativity while raising funds to support the Alzheimer Society of B.C. They walked, hiked, cycled, danced and more. Then on Sunday, May 30, they joined us online to celebrate a month of activity and hear stories from people who are affected by dementia across Canada.

Across the Okanagan, participants garnered support from family and friends and raised more than $40,000 in online donations. These funds will support education sessions, support groups and our First Link Dementia Helpline. They will also allow us to continue to expand digital support, as well as enabling research into the causes and cure for the disease.

The pandemic has highlighted the isolation faced by people living with dementia. However, through the walk, participants showed that they are deeply committed to supporting their fellow community members facing the disease regardless of not being able to gather in-person for the event. Thank you for coming together to make memories matter.

I’d also like to thank the volunteer organizing committees across the Okanagan: they were instrumental to garnering local support and awareness for this event, and we could not have done this without them. Thank you. I would also like to thank the honouree families for being so gracious in sharing their story to help raise awareness.

The event also had incredible support from sponsors and donors. I’d like to thank our title sponsor IG Wealth Management for their ongoing support of the event. We are grateful for their vision and leadership, and for engaging their volunteers and driving fundraising across Canada. We’d also like to thank our provincial sponsor Cowell Auto Group for their unwavering continued support and commitment to people affected by dementia.

Donations are open until June 30 at walkforalzheimers.ca. You can also watch the event’s recorded celebration on our Facebook page (@AlzheimerBC).

Cathryn France, director, resource development, Alzheimer Society of BC.

New highrises, extra traffic will make beaches inaccessible

Dear Editor: 

Gee, won’t it be nice when they finally finish building the enormous buildings on Lakeshore Road?

I just can’t wait for all those new people to move in. Wow. And the road is still only two lanes.

You head out for a beach day with your four kids under 10 years old, with Grammy and Grandpa, barbecue, cooler, picnic baskets, chair, towels and floaties. Off we go!

But, the traffic is moving as slowly as it does in the roundabout at Lakeshore and Collette Roads (30 km/h) all the way. No matter, we will get there.

Hey, let’s try the new beach at Cedar Avenue and Abbott Street. Great. Get there and whoops! There’s nowhere to park! We’ll have to drop off Grammy and Grandpa so they can hike it with their chairs. It’ll be at least three trips to and from the car to get everything to the beach, then you have to park somewhere else (where?) and walk back.

Sounds stressful, right? No fun. There are no provisions for families to enjoy the beaches anymore. That’s our city council. They never think of us normal people: regular families who just want a little R&R at the beach.

Why is there nowhere to park at the new Cedar Road Beach or Bluebird Beach? It’s dangerous to park on Lakeshore Road, especially with small children and all the necessary beach gear. Please re-think the parking situation at Cedar Beach and give us a parking lot at Bluebird.

Sally Kelly, Kelowna

Aqua highrise application comes up short on details

Dear Editor: 

Today, the City of Kelowna is holding a public hearing on a number of variances for the Aqua Resort project on the lakeshore at Truswell Road.

Public information provided by the planning department for the hearing has a number of omissions that critically limit full public disclosure and understanding of the impacts created by Aqua’s proposed project design.

These omissions include:

— Shadow diagrams — Project shadow diagrams omit winter shadows cast by the buildings throughout the day during December when the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon. At that time, buildings will cast the longest shadows and have the greatest impacts on adjacent property owners and on public open spaces being touted as public amenities provided by the applicant. These amenities include boardwalks, a beach and a public pier.

— Zoning table — A zoning table showing how the building design does or does not conform to the C9 zoning bylaw was omitted from the design drawings. This omission denies the public the ability to determine bylaw conformity.

— Building elevations — Design drawings omit building height elevations and privacy assessments showing the impacts the buildings will have on adjacent private and public properties during the construction and operations phases of the project.

— Environmental information — Critical environmental information regarding potential impacts project construction and operations will have on water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and hydrostatic soil pressures have not been fully identified. The scope of these impacts is directly related to the scope of the project design, building mass and site uses. These impacts will require mitigation and their public costs have not been made public. This information is critical to fully understanding the long-term public need and necessity for issuing the development permit and variances.

— Traffic and parking assessments — Traffic and parking impact assessments in the area, especially along the Lakeshore corridor have been omitted. Critical to the debate is the identification and mitigation of cumulative impacts Aqua’s project design will have on traffic and parking in the area when combined with five other projects planned along the corridor. This corridor is a major arterial route and Kelowna residents have no idea how these projects will combine to impact their daily lives, their neighbourhoods and their taxes when mitigation becomes necessary. Knowing how the city and these project applicants plan to address public safety issues as more traffic and parking congestion occurs needs to be made public.

— Waterfront park — Aqua is offering a 1.2-acre waterfront park dedication as a public amenity. The fact this park will be submerged underwater during summer when the lake is in flood and will require extensive annual public costs to restore and maintain after flooding was also omitted.

It is inexcusable for city planning staff and council to support Aqua’s applications without full public disclosure of the long-term public benefits and costs resulting from the project design.

Richard Drinnan, Kelowna

Short-term renters spread the smell of cannabis

Dear Editor: 

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the short-term rental properties start up again, and as there is such an establishment behind me, so does the noise and the smell of cannabis drift to my open windows.

Despite cannabis being legal I don’t see why I have to be subjected to the cannabis vapour wafting over to my deck, making it unusable, together with the increase in noise level as the renters get high.

It is disrespectful and inconsiderate to the residents who pay taxes in their permanent homes to have short-term renters destroy the peace and quietness and livability of their neighbourhood.

Why does Summerland still not have bylaw rules that govern the management of short-term rentals? Well, I believe it’s because none of council or staff have to live with the constant intrusion of not knowing their neighbours, the increase in noise and now the smell of cannabis.

Good for them but not for me. I wonder how many other Summerland residents have similar concerns?

Diana Smith, Summerland

Bird didn’t appreciate attempt to help

Dear Editor:

Much has been written, especially during the pandemic, about the therapeutic effect bird watching. 

In our backyard we have a bird feeder, four nest boxes and a birdbath. We put a plastic mesh ‘roof’ over the birdbath to discourage those deviously-clever magpies and crows.

Pine siskins are small endearing members of the finch family. The other day one was hopping around and around on top of the mesh trying to find a hole large enough to get to the water below. I moved slowly over to the birdbath and even more slowly reached out my hand until it hovered just above the bewildered little bird.  Then I gently ‘grabbed’ it. 

A pine siskin may be diminutive and delicate, but they certainly have a loud shrill voice when outraged! 

I quickly moved my hand down to the edge of the birdbath; naively thinking the siskin might calm down when released and even take a drink. I was wrong! Obviously I don’t understand the language pine siskins speak, but I bet the ‘words’ that furious little siskin directed towards me would have made a sailor blush. Clearly my good intentions were misunderstood. A lesson learned.

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon