June 25, 2013 - 10:00 AM
KELOWNA - Non-motorized water sports could soon be a lot more visible on Lake Okanagan. A paddle centre proposed for a beach access off Abbott Street in Kelowna's South Pandosy area is the latest pilot project with that goal in mind.
Canoes, kayaks, row boats and stand-up paddleboards could all be stored and launched from one location with programs available through the Kelowna Outrigger Canoe Club Association. It would be the first of its kind since the city lost its original paddle centre to a fire in 1969, reviving Kelowna's longstanding paddling tradition that dates back to the Regatta days.
Association representative Jim Gabriel says there's a strong demand for the facility and huge potential for the project to become a longterm establishment.
Not only would it promote healthy, active living, Gabriel says, but it would also support the natural environment.
Mayor Walter Gray agreed it would help boost the prevalence of non-motorized water sports which, "would also be good for the lake," he says.
From a sports perspective Coun. Colin Basran sees an identity-shaping opportunity in the project.
"It would certainly be great if one day Kelowna could be known as the centre of excellence for these types of sports," he says.
The centre would be located at 3050 Abbott St. in a location destined for significant tourist development. Coun. Andre Blanleil says the paddle centre lines up with future plans for the area.
"I think it's a perfect fit," he says. While the facility itself will have just a single building for storing paddling equipment, it could one day be incorporated with a hotel project.
The Outrigger Association will be applying for a temporary use permit on the site to launch their plans for the paddle centre.
3050 Abbott Street leads to a currently un-used beachfront access, less desirable for swimmers but an ideal launching point for canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
Image Credit: City of Kelowna
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013