An amphitheatre is proposed for a gully just below the Okanagan College campus in Coldstream.

An amphitheatre is proposed for a gully just below the Okanagan College campus in Coldstream.

Theatre protest grows

Residents raise questions about plans for an amphitheatre at Okanagan College

A group opposed to a proposed amphitheatre in Coldstream continues to demand answers.

Residents adjacent to Okanagan College want to know what other venues the Okanagan Summer Festival Society considered for a 5,500-seat outdoor theatre before selecting the gully above Kickwillie Loop Road.

“Why are they so set on a location situated on college property in the middle of a residential area which will impact the entire north end of Kal Lake?” said resident Jackie George.

Questions also focus on the project’s scope.

“According to a Google Earth image of the proposed site, with the concept site plan overlaid, grass seating on the east side would take away the lower half of the Patchwork Farms including the food forest,” said resident Paul Christie.

Among the neighbours’ concerns are noise, traffic and environmental impact, particularly through loss of the gully.

“The society’s vision and our vision of this gully do not match,” said resident Joan Rowan.

The society has indicated that studies will be done to determine the potential impact of noise. However, the citizens’ group questions the need for a study when performances will generate sound issues.

“They will need as many shows as they can book in order to pay down the huge debt incurred,” said Rowan.

“Clearly, the society did not consider the impact of noise on residents in the area.”

The society is also being challenged over how it developed the proposal, and specifically that the society and Okanagan College had not involved residents in the process until after the proposal was announced.

“Why not involve the stakeholders, the residents who would be the most affected by a huge amphitheatre, from the beginning?,” said resident Pat Andrews.

“With good leadership, isn’t that what they should have done?”

A petition has been launched opposing the college site for the amphitheatre.

“There’s a place for everything, but this isn’t the place,” said resident Jim Spears.