Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Capital News file)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Capital News file)

Mayor thinks Kelowna will be travel ‘hot spot’ this summer amid pent up demand

Mayor Basran believes Kelowna will be the destination of choice for many restless Canadians

Get ready, says Mayor Colin Basran, because if international travel restrictions remain in place, Kelowna could be in for a busy summer.

“I think we are going to be the hot spot in the country for visitation if it’s allowed,” said Basran during a Monday (March 15) council meeting, adding the city could be in for “possibly its busiest summer in a while.”

Basran said there’s a lot of pent-up travel demand and people want to get out of their homes. If international borders remain closed and domestic travel remains unrestricted, Basran believes Kelowna will be the destination of choice for many restless Canadians.

“If that’s going to be allowed, I say, ‘Look out.’ It’s going to be a very busy time for the City of Kelowna.”

Basran’s comments came as council endorsed additional programming for the Bernard Avenue pedestrian closure this summer, set to allow pedestrians and businesses to take over the popular downtown street between the Sails and St. Paul Street. This, the mayor said, only adds to the city’s draw this summer.

Bernard Avenue in Downtown Kelowna on July 27, 2020. (Aaron Hemens - Black Press Media)

Bernard Avenue in Downtown Kelowna on July 27, 2020. (Aaron Hemens - Black Press Media)

The ‘Meet Me on Bernard’ program will see live music, art galleries, public art and street games, in addition to the expanded patios and pedestrian/cyclist laneways present in 2020. The new initiatives will be focused on the 400 and 500 blocks of Bernard, where businesses had mixed reactions to the program last year, with hopes it will draw more customers to businesses in the area.

“It’s going to be a great amenity for our locals and visitors when they’re allowed,” said the mayor.

City data shows pedestrian volumes went up 88 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019’s expected counts at the intersection of Bernard Avenue and Mill Street.

The program is set to cost the city around $50,000. The city has applied for a Canada Healthy Community Initiatives grant, which would cover most of the city’s costs.

READ MORE: ‘Eventually, but not for today,’ Trudeau says of when Canada-U.S. border might reopen

READ MORE: ‘One of our finer moments:’ Pandemic led to massive scramble to get Canadians home

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirustravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Vernon elementary school

Exposure at BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Kieran Ruscheinski (right) sticks close to Vernon Vipers forward Logan Lorenz during Salmon Arm’s 2-1 overtime win in B.C. Hockey League pod play Saturday, April 10, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Mack attack paces Salmon Arm Silverbacks past Vernon

Sullivan Mack scores both goals, including beautiful OT winner, in Gorillas’ 2-1 BCHL pod play win over Snakes

Paddlewheel Park off Okanagan Landing Road, Vernon. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looks to address parking shortage at Paddlewheel Park

City staff are looking into short, medium and long-term overflow parking options

(GVMA)
WATCH: A Royal procession through Vernon, 1959

Prince Philip, who died April 9 at 99, visited Vernon on a tour of Canada in 1959

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

These nails were collected off the Campbell Mountain bike trails in Penticton this weekend. Someone placed them all over the trail. (Facebook)
Hundreds of nails placed on popular Penticton bike trail

A mountain biker took to Facebook to warn others about the nails

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read