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Street level Kelowna redesign taking shape

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 | 4:16 pm

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Bernard scheduled for a makeover

By Kathy Michaels

While the debate on building Kelowna into the sky rages on, another small-scale revitalization plan on  is ticking along quite nicely.

Discussions on how to beautify Bernard Avenue  will resume at a March 1 workshop where everything from plan logistics to the financing model is on the table.

“We’re really excited about this session,” said John Perrott of the Downtown Kelowna Association. “Now we’re getting into the creative side, discussing what makes a great street.”

Discussions on benches, greenery and sidewalk sizes are on the agenda, Perrott explained, and those who are swept away by artistic visions could get a chance to doodle how they see the future of the downtown’s main artery.

Already, however, designers have a clue as to what this city’s residents want to see.

“They were leaning towards wider sidewalks and  more trees and more pedestrian lighting,” said Perrott, adding discussions on what ammenities the street needs also arose.

While the overall feel of the last meeting was positive merchants’ regular  concerns about parking rose to the forefront, as widened sidewalks could take away some prime parking real estate.

With both wish-lists and concerns accounted for consultants mocked up two preliminary design options and those will be up for debate at the meeting next week.

Input from participants will help clarify the preferred direction for the design concept, which will be carried forward and developed in greater detail.

The consultants will also identify the strengths and weaknesses of Bernard  based on the information acquired at the first workshop, a marketing comparison of three commercial  districts in Kelowna —Orchard Park Mall, South Pandosy, and Bernard Avenue — and trends in  commercial districts and successful urban environments.

And, last but not least, the money issue will be addressed.

Although an estimate of the total cost for the project will not be known until the design  has taken shape, Patrick McCormick from the City of Kelowna will review the proposed  financing model with participants, including the mechanics of the Bylaw, the probable   timing of costs and a schedule of payments.

No matter what comes of the meeting, the main strip’s utilities and roads will have to be upgraded. The question that will be posed to those at the meeting is how locals want to take advantage of the period of reconstruction and make Bernard a bit more beautiful.

The meeting will be held March 1 from  5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  at The Royal Anne Hotel, 348 Bernard Avenue.

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