September 30, 2014 - 1:00 PM
KELOWNA – Calling them a “movement that can’t be stopped,” Mayor Walter Gray and the rest of council approved leasing four city-owned, waterfront properties in the Pandosy neighbourhood to the Kelowna Paddle Club Monday.
“I see this as planting a seed that is going to grow,” Gray says. “The Paddle Centre is a great fit for Pandosy Waterfront. We know the park will not be developed in the foreseeable future and this provides us an opportunity to have activity on the site sooner than later.”
The city plans to lease the land for $2,500 for the first two years and $1 for each year after to the Kelowna Paddle Centre, which will provide operational funding, programming and upgrades to the site.
The area includes a gravel parking area where the centre currently operates under a Temporary Use Permit granted in July 2012. A house spanning three of the 12 lots owned by the city will remain until funds to develop the park can be secured.
Opponents to the project want the park to be 100 per cent open to the public but Mayor Walter Gray says the characterization of a 'private' club is inaccurate.
Although club programmer Sandy Redman says memberships will be available, the centre will also offer drop in options as well as programs for the public throughout the year.
"It's about giving lots of choices," she says. "One of those choices is to be a member."
Coun. Colin Basran pointed out there is currently no money set aside to develop the park in the next five years, so not allowing the centre to use the park means it will go unused.
"I know that there are some people out there who don't want this paddle centre at all in the area and so if we were to terminate this lease and keep things as status quo, nobody would have access to this area outside of the few people who rent the homes in the neighbourhood. What better way to bring vibrancy to the area than entering into this lease with the Kelowna Paddle Centre, bringing people to the area... to engage in a clean, healthy sport?"
The lease for the Paddle Centre, which is run by a non-profit society, starts December 15, 2014.
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