Not a suitable location

Resident raises concerns about plans for an amphitheatre at Okanagan College

While we appreciate the intent of the Okanagan Summer Festival Society (OSFS) to build an amphitheatre, as neighbours to Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, we are deeply concerned about the negative ramifications of the project to both the natural environment and to area residents.

We believe that this is not a suitable location for the following reasons:

The two large gullies are the only natural habitat left within the enclave bounded by College Way, Kickwillie Loop Road and Highway 97.

The steep slopes of this historic glacial gully are composed of fine textured soils that are subject to erosion due to runoff from the sports complex, the college parking lot and the bypass. Considerable funds have already been expended to control drainage into and through this gully.

The gully is an ecologically sensitive site comprising steep slopes, sensitive, native bunch grass cover, with arrow leaf balsam root, prickly pear cactus, and sumac.  It is home to the threatened western gopher (bull) snake and hawks are regularly seen hunting over the open grasslands.

The concept plans for the amphitheatre portray green, grassy slopes all around the amphitheatre where up to 4,500 additional (1,500 in amphitheatre) people can sit. This would require removing all of the native vegetation and planting irrigated turf on these over-steep, highly erodible slopes. Access to the amphitheatre for equipment and event staging would be off Kickwillie Loop Road, close to the College Way junction.

This location for an access for large trucks and vans would present considerable safety risks and inconvenience to local traffic.

Existing parking within the college site is insufficient to service the expected audience numbers (up to 6,000 people) and the impact on neighborhood roads during events will be severe.

Local residents currently experience noise and light issues related to the sports complex and Funtastic events and we are very concerned about additional noise, light and view impacts related to the amphitheatre.

We encourage the OSFS to continue its search and hope it can find a suitable site in the Vernon/Coldstream area where the natural environment and neighborhoods will not be so negatively affected.

An anti-amphitheatre meeting is happening Monday at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.

Joan Rowan,

Concerned Neighbours of Okanagan College,Vernon Campus