Bill Chomik looks at the ravine below Okanagan College and sees an open canvas.
The Calgary-based architect is working with the Okanagan Summer Festival Society to design a 5,500-seat amphitheatre in Coldstream.
“I haven’t seen a site so suitable for a project like this. This is an architect’s dream,” he said during a visit to the area Friday.
“God has given us this piece of land to put it in.”
While nearby residents have expressed concerns about noise during performances at the Kal Bowl, Chomik insists the gully will act as a sound barrier.
“The sound will be reflected up and not across,” he said, adding that large roofs over the stage and seats will also help.
“They will bounce the sound back into the amphitheatre and we will get spectacular acoustics.”
Another goal, Chomik says, is to preserve the natural environment of the ravine.
“It touches the earth gently,” he said.
“The idea is to bridge across the gully with infrastructure and not dump a bunch of dirt in.”
A culvert would allow water to flow.
“We are going to make this facility very green,” said Chomik of solar energy and the use of wood during construction.
Another concern that has surfaced is that existing parking at the college won’t be sufficient during performances.
“We will encourage people to use group transit. Hotels could use shuttles to bring guests to the site,” said Diane Bond, with the society.
“We would encourage park and ride from a central location, such as in Kelowna.”
As part of developing a plan for the amphitheatre, society officials will talk to senior government in the next month.
“We hope they will be funders of a significant majority of the capital portion,” said Bond.
“We will be putting together a timetable for the formal submission.”
Cost estimates are being established now.
There are no immediate plans to consult with nearby residents.
“As we have reports on subjects, such as traffic, we will hold information sessions,” said Bond.