Portion of Bernard Avenue in Kelowna, B.C. to close earlier this year
A portion of Kelowna, B.C.’s main strip will be closed to car traffic earlier this year than normal.
Kelowna city councillors voted to close the 200 block of Bernard Avenue to vehicles starting on the May long weekend, with an option for businesses in the 300-500 blocks to expand their sidewalk patios into the adjacent parking stall.
Full closure will begin July 1, although City staff and the Downtown Kelowna Association are researching whether the 400 and 500 blocks should ever fully close to traffic.
Mark Burley, of the Downtown Kelowna Association, said since the Meet Me on Bernard program began, business owners on that stretch of the street expressed concern about and they’ve discussed how to make tweaks that would bring more life to the area.
Coun. Ron Cannan said he’s heard from business owners in the 400 to 500 block that people walk down the middle of the road and don’t go near the shops. It’s been so difficult for some that they’ve closed shop and he asked Burley if anyone had looked at closing the area to car traffic a mere one day a week.
Burley said that, logistically speaking, it would be more money and therefore higher implementation cost. But, more importantly, that idea wasn’t part of the parameters the DKA had been asked to work with so it had yet to be considered.
Coun. Charlie Hodge also acknowledged the plight of businesses in that area, but pointed out that he is in support of the program overall, noting that it needs another year or two for all the kinks to be worked out, particularly because the pandemic had been such a challenge.
“It would be an error to step backward,” he said.
“Only now are people starting to pull their heads out of the dirt and ask, ‘wow what is going on?'”
He said with time he thinks the whole program will be a hit.
by Global News