KELOWNA - A heated debate surrounding the proposed Kelowna tourism centre is expected at next week’s public hearing at city hall.
The main concern being voiced is surrounding the use of waterfront land for the proposed building.
“We need to protect what little our natural environment and waterfront we have left in the downtown area,” Tannis Porter said in an on-line petition against the proposal. “This should be slated as permanent park land for everyone to enjoy forever.”
The change.org petition opposing the proposed location for the tourism centre has 220 supporters, as of Jan. 20. There is also a change.org petition supporting the proposed tourism centre with 265 signatures.
Currently, the property is zoned for parks and open space. For the tourism centre to move forward, it's zoning will have to be changed tomajor institutional. Tuesday night’s, Jan. 24, meeting will hear second and third readings of the rezoning application.
As it stands, the proposed centre is 3,000 square feet, located at the Queensway Jetty which is currently a parking lot.
The City released the proposed lease agreement Thursday afternoon, Jan. 19.
“High public interest in this project and the City’s desire to be transparent prompted this additional communication effort,” city spokesperson Tom Wilson said in the release.
The lease is binding for 29 years, until 2046. The lease states the building cannot exceed 7.5 metres in height and will not encroach on the Sawmill Community Trust lands. At the end of the lease period, the building and land will be turned over to the City without cost.
The report also states that all costs will be paid by Tourism Kelowna. However, the City will pay $11,000 towards providing water and sanitary servicing, possibly covering the cost of public washrooms.
As of Jan. 19 there had been 207 letters addressed to the City regarding the centre. Out of these letters 107 voiced support for the project, 53 opposed and 47 neither stated their support or opposition.
The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in city council chambers. Any member of the public is able to attend and speak for up to five minutes per person.
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