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)

Kelowna again hoping to close Bernard Avenue to vehicles this summer

City is planning for live music, street games to animate pedestrian-only street

The City of Kelowna is again eyeing the downtown closure of Bernard Avenue through the summer, making the pedestrian thoroughfare an annual event.

But it’s hoping to make some changes from last year’s hastily introduced closure that was met with mixed support from businesses further up the street.

In summer 2020, the city blocked off Bernard from the Sails to St. Paul Street, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to roam the roadway and businesses to expand patios into the street. Businesses near the lake, in the 200 and 300 blocks, largely had positive experiences. But in the 400 and 500 blocks, less than 60 per cent of businesses favour reintroducing the program.

Some business owners in that area cited concerns, largely regarding the loss of on-street parking. They suggested the lack of parking will cause some customers not to visit downtown storefronts and restaurants as they may feel unsafe walking to and from parkades. Businesses also had COVID-19 concerns, saying the program may be better suited for a post-pandemic world and advised the city they had difficulties receiving deliveries.

To remedy those concerns, the city plans to create a pedestrian ‘green street’ in the 400 and 500 blocks.

Now dubbed the ‘Meet me on Bernard’ program, the city plans to offer live music, Indigenous art galleries, parklets, public art, murals, and street games to liven up the closure’s western side. City staff said similar programs have proven successful in other cities such as Vancouver’s Granville Island, Miami’s Lincoln Road, Whistler Village, and Charlottetown’s Victoria Row.

The city has received letters of support for the plan from several organizations, including the Downtown Kelowna Association, Festivals Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna, and others.

The program as a whole will cost the city $53,000, which includes around $20,000 from the patio extension program. The city is also seeking an additional $50,000 Canada Healthy Community Initiatives grant to help fund the program.

Council will consider the program and its funding at its Monday (March 15) meeting.

READ MORE: Kelowna businesses reflect on the closure of Bernard Avenue

READ MORE: Pedestrian numbers skyrocket on car-free Bernard Avenue

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.

City of Kelowna

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

Just Posted

The Town of Oliver is lobbying for funds to fix part of an irrigation system damaged by a rock slide last year that would have a huge impact on farmers and the entire region. File photo
Province to finish funding for Oliver irrigation system repairs

The irrigation system was damaged after a rockslide in 2016

The Vees are on their fourth straight win as they head into game five of Pod Season on Sunday. (Cheri Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees keep winning streak alive with 5-3 win

The Vees are now 4-0 to start the BCHL pod season

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Participants are encouraged to light a candle and watch the streamed event from home as speakers honor the lives of those lost to overdose from Gyro Bandshell in Penticton April 14, 2021. (Facebook photo)
Vigil for 5th anniversary of B.C. overdose crisis to be held in Penticton

To honor the lives lost to the overdose crisis and bring a call of action to policymakers

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

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

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read