District approves location for food bank building

Lake Country council approved the relocation of the food bank to district land immediately east of the Lake Country Senior’s Centre.

The Lake Country Food Bank has moved one step closer to a new permanent location.

At the June 3 District of Lake country council meeting, council passed a motion approving the relocation of the food bank to district land immediately east of the Lake Country Senior’s Centre.

The currently empty lot is now the future home of the food bank, awaiting a successful fundraising campaign in order to begin building.

A feasibility study for the location including a concept design were presented to council.

The decision did face some opposition from the public at the council meeting. Tom Cockrell spoke as a representative of the Seniors’ Centre Society.

Cockrell began his remarks by noting that many in the seniors’ society felt the matter had been rushed as the group was only informed of the possibility of their future neighbour six weeks ago.

The society has three main concerns—parking, future expansion of the seniors’ centre building and placing an ‘institutional’ facility such as the food bank in a recreational area.

Cockrell pointed out that many seniors have difficulty walking and any potential diminishment of accessible parking would have a big impact on seniors with mobility issues.

Food bank volunteer and supporter Stewart Deschen also spoke during the public comment period to council, saying that many food bank clients are seniors and the need for the food bank is continues to grow.

Deschen bluntly described the condition of the current food bank location as “disgraceful.”

It is well known in the community that a team of dedicated volunteers make the best of a tight situation in a location on the north side of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.

Many elements of the feasibility study for the food bank incorporated and responded to the concerns of the Senior’s Society.

The feasibility study was conducted on behalf of the District by Bruce Carscadden Architects and the parking issue was addressed. There are already 27 more parking stalls in the lot than required by the district, plus the food bank will be operating during hours when the arena is not in peak use.

The second main concern, future expansion of the seniors’ centre, was addressed by resituating the food bank building closer to the property line and further from the centre.

The complete feasibility study including architectural renderings of the proposed building, verbatim transcripts of concerns, and study notes, is online at www.lakecountry.bc.ca. Go to the council agendas section, and look in the June 3 agenda for the pdf.

The next phase for the relocation of the food bank is a fundraising drive which will be spearheaded by the Rotary Club. Already donations of time and skills for construction have come in and some cash donations. If you feel you can help, contact fundraising organizer Bob Rymarchuk, who is with the Rotary Club of Lake Country.