September 19, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA - Encouraged by this summer’s successful experiment in place-making, the city will move to make permanent the installation in a downtown back alley across from the Sails.
In June, volunteers scrubbed clean the alley between Bernard and Leon Avenue, stringing lights, painting the asphalt and decorating the walls of adjacent buildings.
The Downtown Kelowna Assocation provided seating and started off the summer with Small Shop at Night in June. Other events were held in the laneway throughout the summer, something Coun. Gail Given said she feels is necessary if it is to succeed.
“What is of value here, what makes the space much more inviting, is when there is programming (scheduled events),” Given said. “The time the space is not programmed it is much less attractive. Putting someone in there on a permanent basis will enliven it and and giv it a better shot of catching on.”
Other councillors were more forgiving.
Coun. Luke Stack said he’d seen a similar laneway project underway in the Downtown Eastside.
“It’s nice to see Vancouver catch up with us,” he quipped.
Coun. Charlie Hodge called it a great example of small business working together with municipal government. “
This is what occurs when you make visions happen,” he said.
Aiding in this summer's success was the enthusiastic participation of Bill Scutt, the owner of one of the buildings that sits beside the lane, according to city real estate manager John Saufferer.
In fact, Scutt will be a partner in the venture through a five-year concession license for which the city has waived the $10,000 fee until improvements Scutt will pay for are complete.
Both sides will also agree on a maintenance program, Staufferer said, and staff must approve a final site plan for improvements.
Council agreed to let the temporary installation become permanent subject to ratification of a memorandum of understanding sometime in the fall.
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