Patricia Andrews speaks on behalf of the close to 700 people who have signed a petition against a proposed amphitheatre at Okanagan College during Coldstream's Monday evening council meeting.

Patricia Andrews speaks on behalf of the close to 700 people who have signed a petition against a proposed amphitheatre at Okanagan College during Coldstream's Monday evening council meeting.

Opposition amps up for amphitheatre

District of Coldstream joins neighbours in opposition to proposed Kalamalka Bowl next to Okanagan College

Just like the noise they fear will echo through their neighbourhoods, close to 100 Coldstream residents were loud and clear on their message about a proposed amphitheatre.

They don’t want it in their backyard.

And Coldstream council agrees, to some extent.

The concerned residents oppose an amphitheatre at Okanagan College and they have collected close to 700 signatures in a petition against the proposal.

“The plan will completely transform Coldstream and the north end of Kalamalka Lake,” spokesperson Patricia Andrews told Coldstream council Monday evening. “The negative impacts of such a giant amphitheatre would be huge.”

The Okanagan Summer Festival Society is proposing to construct an open air amphitheatre in the gully next to OC. Initial concepts show the Kalamalka Bowl would seat up to 1,500 plus additional grass seating for a total of 5,500.

While no formal applications have been made, the society recently made a presentation on its plans to Coldstream, which has also now heard from concerned residents.

“We’ve heard both sides and based on the community’s feedback I cannot see how this process going forward is going to end well,” said Coun. Richard Enns, who says he will not support an application of this magnitude.

Therefore Coldstream will be sending a letter to the society, OC board, MLA and Ministry of Education stating its opposition to the amphitheatre as proposed.

“We can say what we don’t want,” said Coun. Doug Dirk. “We don’t want rock concerts there, we don’t want issues with traffic, we don’t want issues with noise.”

Similar sentiments were shared by the majority of council.

“I don’t think it’s a proper location,” said Coun. Peter McClean. “Save your time and find another location.”

Living across the lake, and knowing how sound travels, Coun. Gyula Kiss says he is not in favour of the proposal.

It’s also not entirely clear if Coldstream even has the ability to deny an application if and when it is submitted because the construction is on provincial land.

“We don’t have the ability to regulate a senior level of government,” said Mike Reiley, Coldstream’s director of development services.

Diane Bond, society managing director, says Coldstream’s concerns aren’t new and the society will be performing a noise impact assessment, traffic study and will continue discussions with Coldstream.

“The issues that have been raised by neighbours, all of that will be part of the discussion,” said Bond, who has plans for the district to meet with the architect in May. “We know these are issues that need to be addressed.”

The concerns may affect some of the specifications, but in the end the Kalamalka Bowl needs to be sustainable.

“The design is a preliminary design, we can change it,” said Bond, who says she feels like a broken record.

In response to the suggestion of finding a different location, Bond says all potential sites have already been investigated. One was the bluffs in West Kelowna, but the Westbank First Nations was not interested as they have alternate plans for the land.

“I think I would recognize a better solution if it came along, but it hasn’t come along.”