A petition was started earlier this week urging the City of Kelowna to review its plans for a bike lane on Leckie Road which would disrupt the livelihood of the small businesses on the street.

James and Esmeralda Heinrich own Great Way Martial Arts and they started a petition because they believe, along with nearby business owners, the instalment of a bike lane at the expense of the street parking will impact their businesses.

"The plan they have for our street is going to take up all the parking and narrow the street and we have a couple of dance schools, a martial arts school, we have a lot of service-based businesses on this street that rely on the street parking. Not for long-term parking, but for drop-off for all the kids and families," James said. "The parking we have now makes it safe for parents to drop their kids off on this side of the street get out of the car and go to their activities.

"Once the parking is gone, they won't be able to drop off on this side of the street, they'll have to drop off some other way which makes it a little more dangerous for kids to be dropped off at their activities and, also, just not as convenient."

Great Way, along with other businesses on the street including the Canadian School of Ballet, are especially concerned about noise during the six months of construction.

"We're concerned about the havoc it's going to cause," Esmeralda said.

Great Way Martial Arts business owners want to preserve their street parking spots
Great Way Martial Arts business owners want to preserve their street parking spots

The parking situation in the area is already dire because Great Way's small parking lot doesn't meet its needs..

"We already have parents coming in telling us 'I couldn't find any parking,' and that's just now let alone when the parking spots will be removed," Esmeralda Heinrich says. "Some have the idea to put in two-hour only parking as opposed to all day like it is right now where we have employees of nearby businesses taking up all the parking, which could disperse all these people."

The business owners would like to see a multi-purpose path on their street, but would prefer it replace the existing sidewalk so the street parking isn't lost.

The business owners met with city officials late last week to discuss their concerns and propose alternatives.

"We got the city rethinking, hopefully, part of their plan, at least looking into how can we give back some parking and how to make it better for the parking. They'll come back to us with some ideas and thoughts of what they could put into the plan which could accommodate some of our concerns," James said.

The hope is the city can find a bike lane model that can be put in place while preserving the parking spaces.

"We've been here for 18 years, the Canadian School of Ballet has been here 25, some have been here up to 36 years and we all share the same concerns," Esmeralda said.

You can find the petition here

To contact a reporter for this story, email Gabrielle Adams or call (438) 830-1211 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. SUBSCRIBE to our awesome newsletter here.