Kelowna Legacy Group calls on public to share its voice | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna Legacy Group calls on public to share its voice

The Kelowna Legacy Group had this image of downtown Kelowna in its pitch to the City.
Image Credit: SUBMITED / Kelowna Legacy Group
November 25, 2019 - 11:14 AM

It's time for the community to speak out about what they want at the old Kelowna RCMP site, say a group of residents who have been trying to delay the sale of the downtown property.

The Kelowna Legacy Group issued a press release today, Nov. 25, saying a more comprehensive period of public consultation is needed for the development possibilities for the downtown cultural district and offered some new insights, such as its interest in seeing a Public-Private Partnership, known as a P-3, funding arrangement come together for the plan.

"The city did formulate a Civic Precinct Plan, back in 2015, and the city’s conclusion, at that time, pointed to the former RCMP site as having the greatest potential to offset land relocation costs and deliver key public amenities, in the near term, through a mixed use redevelopment; in other words, another downtown high rise condo project, with commercial space at ground level," reads the release from the group comprised of Ken Bessason, Al Hildebrandt, Les Bellamy, Norm LeCavalier, Laura Thurnheer, Paul Mitchell, Q.C., Tom Dyas, Lorraine Caruthers and Phil Whealy.

The city details their “broad cross-section of the community” engagement; which led them to the now proposed sale of the RCMP site, the group said. However, in total, only four stakeholder meetings were conducted, 113 people completed a survey and only 138 people attended two public information sessions.

"In our minds, these modest numbers, given the population of Kelowna, indicate an inadequate endeavour to truly reflect the wider community’s interest or will," the release reads.

In the release, the Legacy Group said the possible consideration and addition of the Simpson Covenant lands into any future development is a matter to be considered, but the city’s Precinct Plan specially excluded consideration of said parcels.

"Now that we have had early indications from the Simpson Family as to their willingness to consider a vision for a legacy project on these four properties, we are asking City Hall to reconsider their short-term plans to dispose of the RCMP parcel," it reads.

The Legacy Group made a big splash when they submitted an alternate proposal, holding a press conference with every media outlet in the city invited. They claim they haven't heard from the city, though some city councillors have reached out with questions.
One of the issues appears to be the questioning of financing, and for that, the Legacy Group said it'd be interested in seeing a P3, which occurred with the Okanagan Innovation Centre and Prospera Place.
"Through further community discussions, there is the possibility of funding this project through a P3 arrangement," reads the release. "We continue to ask the community for their vision and input into what we truly feel will benefit the entire community. As for the size and layout of a possible new theatre, we don’t profess to have all the answers, nor do we wish to dictate the process or outcome."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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.

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