Excited. Long, long overdue. When Kelowna city council approved plans for a downtown marina that would offer day moorage, councillors could hardly hold back their enthusiasm.
"It's hard to believe that a city by the lake doesn't have a facility like this already," Coun. Colin Basran told the Kelowna Capital News the night two years ago when city council approved the privately funded public marina, to be located at the foot of Queensway.
Indeed, the city had wanted, needed, a public pier and place for moorings on the lakeshore downtown for years.
Downtown—its shops and its restaurants—is just steps away from the pristine waters of Okanagan Lake. And yet until now, tourists and locals alike were largely unable to dock near downtown for a few hours to have dinner, see a show or do a bit of shopping.
That's in a city surrounded by water with 118,000 people officially, and nearly double that amount in the summer, many of whom hit the lake in Kelowna boat rentals or boats of their own. Either way, without day moorage, the downtown was essentially off limits unless you were a member of the Kelowna Yacht Club.
Fortunately, the city had a vision. That vision included a lakefront public marina and pier where anyone could tie up their boat for a few hours and explore all that downtown has to offer.
So, the idea for Downtown Marina Kelowna was born. In October 2013, those same city councillors cut the ribbon on the 350 feet long floating pier that stretches out onto Okanagan Lake. They imagined the little boys with their nets, the couples holding hands and soaking it all in from the seating pavilion at the tip.
In addition to the pier and day moorage, Sea-Doo and boat rentals are offered at the Kelowna marina, as well as marine fuel, a store, a sani-station, a commercial boat pier and a convenient ticket kiosk.
This marina is going to bring downtown to boaters, and boaters to downtown. For years, Kelowna needed a waterfront gateway, and it got one.
Welcome to Downtown Marina Kelowna. Have a great summer, everyone.