An online forum is generating some clear themes in the public's vision for the future of City Park. New kiosks, a paddling centre, farmers' markets and heightened security are some of the top requests coming in since the city launched the community engagement platform last March.
While feedback pours in on the virtual platform, construction on-site is moving forward with a new washroom facility, and families stop by the playground. Rachelle Riley and her husband were helping their grandchildren onto the swing set in the park this morning. She says the park is a favourite outing for the kids, but feels it's missing amenities, like a kiosk and concession stand.
“It would be nice to have back what we had before, when they served hotdogs, areas where you could get a drink and popcorn,” she says.
In 2011, a fire destroyed the former City Park Pavillion which provided visitors with a concession stand and public washrooms. Riley says she hopes to see it replaced.
“The more activity we get in this park the better because we've had activity that we didn't like, drugs and things like that, but they tend to move on if there's more people around,” she says.
Many of the comments online echo these concerns about safety, drug use in the park, and the need for some kind of security. One comment suggests the proximity of the Gospel Mission is to blame.
Riley says, at the least, a year-round bike patrol would do the trick.
Deanna Pearson, was also at the playground this morning with her friend and her son, who was busily exploring the jungle gym. She says the play equipment needs to be replaced.
“The playground is a little scary. I'm actually surprised some of it hasn't had to be torn down already,” she says.
Pearson also thinks the park would be a great place for the city's farmers' market, as opposed to its current location behind Orchard Park Mall. Numerous postings on the web forum call for some kind of market where residents could shop for their groceries, or a venue to showcase products in the Okanagan.
Other suggestions focus on recreational uses, calling for rollerblading tracks, an outdoor pool, paddling centre, carousel and even free wifi.
Kelowna residents have another ten days to submit their ideas online, before the forum closes on April 26. City planners say feedback from the virtual forum will help decide the final concept for the park, to be revealed later this Spring at an open house event.
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