Kelowna Legacy Group isn't giving up on its vision for a performing arts centre | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna Legacy Group isn't giving up on its vision for a performing arts centre

Image Credit: Submitted/Kelowna Legacy Group
July 02, 2020 - 2:00 PM

A group of concerned Kelowna citizens call the city’s recent decision to lease out the former RCMP land as “irresponsible” and a “virtual give-away.”

The Kelowna Legacy Group was formed last fall in response to a call for proposals to redevelop part of the land on Doyle Avenue where the RCMP detachment was housed.

READ MORE: Kelowna group wants to slow sale of old RCMP building in favour of grander plan

“We believe that this decision being made during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when so many projects are being reviewed for a second time, is irresponsible,” the group said in a news release issued today, July 2.

The site is being leased for 99 years to RISE Commercial Developments. That includes $4.3 million to complete the existing Artwalk and create a civic plaza.

READ MORE: Development of the former RCMP site in downtown Kelowna moving ahead with RISE

That means, the city is getting $2.7 million over 99 years, so $27,272 per year, the release states.

“Our City land should not be given away,” it says. “In our opinion, this is a virtual give-away based on an outdated, limited community engage(ment) plan.”

The group has objected to the fact the city is basing its plans for the site on the Civic Precinct Plan that was adopted by council in 2016 but based on public input from 2015.

“In total, only four stakeholder meetings were held, 113 citizens completed the survey, and only 138 attended two public information sessions,” the release states. “In our minds, this is an unacceptable level of engagement, recognizing that The Legacy Group’s own website, which was created within the last year, already has over 600 followers.”

From the beginning, the Legacy group called for a plan that covers the RCMP site as well as the lands now being used for the Kelowna Community Theatre, Memorial Arena and the City Hall parking lot.

Given that the lease has been granted, the release poses a question about where to go from here.

“The first obvious answer is to demand from City staff and councillors greater transparency and extensive citizen engagement for all major proposals,” it states. “Undertaking planning for a modern and iconic Performing Arts Centre, would be a good start. If you are of like mind, please voice your concerns to City Hall.”

READ MORE: New group pushing Kelowna to build new performing arts centre within next five years

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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