Symphonic sounds could flow over the Coldstream hillsides and across Kalamalka Lake.
Plans were unveiled Thursday for a $5 to $10 million amphitheatre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.
“It’s an exciting project for the region,” said Alan Coyle, OC’s director of public affairs.
The amphitheatre would hold up to 5,500 people and be constructed in a coulee or ravine overlooking Kal Lake.
“It’s the best site in the valley,” said Diane Bond, with the Okanagan Summer Festival Society.
“We were looking for beauty, a slope and accessibility.”
The society has been pursuing a venue for large performing groups, such as symphony orchestras and dance companies. The site could also play host to workshops for amateur performers.
“There would be many volunteer and employment opportunities, especially for youth in the summer,” said Bond, adding that the campus’ proximity to Highway 97 and Kelowna International Airport makes the location a draw for tourists.
As part of the planning, similar facilities in New York, Colorado, Alberta and Quebec have been investigated.
The concept was presented to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Thursday but no local funds are being sought.
The society is seeking federal and provincial grants as well as private sector donations.
Construction could begin in 2017 depending on funding being available.
“It’s a very unique vision. No one else would have this,” said Akbal Mund, a Vernon GVAC director.
Because the property is located in Coldstream, the proposal would have to fit into the municipality’s official community plan and other regulations would have to be considered.
“There’s a lot of houses and lakes bounce sound. If there are conflicts, it will be with residents,” said Doug Dirk, Coldstream director.
However, Coyle insists the sound would be directed towards the highway and acoustic tests would be done.
“The college is concerned about its neighbours,” he said.
Bond also says hours of operation would be reviewed and the noise coming from the intended acts is different than those from rock bands.
“You don’t usually amp it up more than necessary,” he said.
Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, raised concerns that the amphitheatre could divert acts away from the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.
But Bond says the amphitheatre would host larger events.
“We look forward to working with performing arts centre staff on services such as ticketing and renting facilities,” she said.
A public open house on the amphitheatre will be held at the college cafeteria Monday at 5 p.m.
“Everyone is invited,” said Bond.