May 29, 2013 - 5:07 PM
This summer visitors to downtown Kelowna will be able to go for a lake-side spin on rented wheels.
A temporary bike rental operator stationed in front of the Queensway boat launch will be the first of its kind for the downtown area.
City property manager Ron Forbes says bike rentals are available in other areas of Kelowna but visitors to downtown are largely stuck exploring the area on foot.
"It was a perceived need to have this kind of activity available to the public in the downtown core," he says. “It's a prime location to cycle along the waterfront or all the way to Knox Mountain or Paul's Tomb."
Forbes anticipates the shop will be most popular with tourists.
“A lot of the Kelowna public will likely have their own bikes," he says.
Fresh Air Concept will be operating the facility, in addition to their existing shops on Highway 97 and in the Mission.
The rental station will be open June 17 to coincide with the opening of Kelowna's first public pier.
"We just rebuilt Bernard Avenue, every restaurant could potentially have a patio and the downtown marina is in the process of building a new public pier that will hopefully be done by the end of June or mid-July,” he says.
Most likely to open first is the Commercial and Passenger Ship Marina, nearly complete along with a ticket building for boaters.
"The commercial boats in front of the sails will move to the new area and the old strip will be demolished," he says. "You will be able to bring your boat downtown and enjoy using the patios or going for a bike ride."
While just a pilot project for now, city councillor Colin Basran says bike rentals could one day be a permanent feature.
“We would like to see bike rentals in the city and would like to see it in City Park,” Basran says.
Ideally a rental shop will run out of the new City Park tourism centre. Counc. Basran says it's still a few years away and money from the province is needed before the visitor's centre can get up and running.
The downtown bike operator is one of a number of seasonal vendors recently approved by Kelowna's city council, including a Vietnamese food vendor to serve concession fare in City Park.
(JULIE WHITTET /InfoTel Multimedia)
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013