Our current Visitor Centre location (located on Harvey Avenue) is outdated and visits to that location are rapidly declining, down by about half in just four years. This represents a lost economic opportunity for Kelowna.
We want to be able to serve residents and visitors with travel information and planning services. Part of that is being where the pedestrian traffic is. In comparably sized communities, 78 per cent of North American Visitor Centres have moved off highways and into high volume pedestrian areas. More than 440,000 people use the boardwalk in front of the proposed visitor Centre – that’s over 1,200 people per day on average.
It’s interesting to note that the proposed site was Kelowna’s original “point of welcome” as an historic ferry dock and it will once again be used to welcome visitors to Kelowna.
The Queensway location is Kelowna’s original welcoming point.
Photo courtesy Kelowna Public Archives KPA#4666
Tourism Kelowna is responsible for raising or borrowing all the funds required to build the project and the City of Kelowna is not contributing funds towards the construction cost. The proposed building will take up a modest footprint. It will be set back from the waterfront by 50 feet on all sides. It will expand and enhance public space and accessibility to the waterfront sides allowing for the completion of the waterfront walkway. It will replace a parking lot with a beautiful and useful public building complete with public washrooms.
More details are yet to come, including the design and project timelines. Visitors to Kelowna are welcome to stop in for information at our current visitor centre, located at 544 Harvey Avenue, where our team of local experts will help you with travel planning.
For more information on the proposed visitor centre, you can read the media release and background documents.