The former RCMP site on Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. The land, along side the Kelowna Community Theatre and the City Hall parking lot would form the Legacy Project: a world class, mulit-usage area in downtown. (Photo: Mackenzie Britton - Capital News)

Proposed Legacy Project could transform downtown Kelowna

The project would add huge additions to land on Doyle Avenue and Water Street

A prominent group of Kelowna residents are hoping the City of Kelowna will hear them out about their proposed Legacy Project.

On Thursday morning, the Legacy Project Group held a press conference to ask the city to pause a request for proposal to sell the former RCMP site on 350 Doyle Avenue until public consultations can be completed on what the project could bring to the downtown area.

The project details an extensive plan that could drastically transform four civic areas downtown: the RCMP station, the Kelowna Community Theatre, the city hall parking lot and the Memorial Arena. Two of these properties are part of the Simpson covenant, which restricts the commercial use of the land and restricts the city’s building capabilities.

In the Legacy Group’s press release, it’s said that the Simpson family has indicated a willingness to consider the plans.

The group has sent a letter to the city, but no official communication with the city has begun. The Legacy Project Group is hopeful the city will take the time to pause the current plans to sell the land and listen to their proposal.

Kelowna Legacy Concept – 2019 from Les Bellamy on Vimeo.

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“There is precedent with the city when it comes to seeking more public consultation and we are gaining supporters each day as people see the video,” said Philip Whealy, spokesperson for the Kelowna Legacy Group.

“Before selling the public asset (the former RCMP site), let’s make sure we’ve considered all possibilities and consider creating a lasting downtown legacy.”

The Legacy Project Group includes a large group of prominent Okanagan business people including Ken Bessason, Les Bellamy, Laura Thurnheer, Al Hildebrandt, Tom Dyas and many others.

In the letter to the city, the group addresses the best way to use the land which will serve current and future needs of the community.

“We all wish our city to continue to evolve into a comfortable, affordable and live-able community,” the letter reads.

“With a desire to formulate a more comprehensive vision for these properties, we respectfully request that the ‘Proposal For Sale’ period for 350 Doyle Avenue be extended for up to a year. This will allow for a wider public consultation process and an opportunity for conceptual development alternatives.”

The plans and appeal by the Legacy Project Group are in the early stages and the city has not yet responded to the group’s request.

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