Progress Or Destruction?

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I took this Photograph of the Okanogan Lake front this past summer, actually right on the first day of summer, June21/2007. It was taken from the edge of the lake in City Park looking across to the docks where the tour boats tie up.The paddle wheeler is the “Fintry Queen”, and the boat in the forefront is called the “Boardroom” { it is used quite often for various company meetings,conferences and excursions}. This area sits right at the foot of Bernard Avenue, the main street and central downtown core of the city. The mountain in the background is called Knox Mountian, named for an early doctor who settled in the area. It is mostly designated as a park area,with a road from the bottom that winds it’s way up to the top. There are lookout areas and many trails and pathways for hiking.
When I took this photograph I really wasn’t paying much attention to the background but now when I look at this image I realize it has something in it that I have been thinking about quite a lot lately.
You will notice that there are a number of homes built up along the mountainside, encroaching on the very edges of the park. It seems Kelowna has grown so quickly and so fast. There is one high rise in the photo which is under construction, and many others have been and are being built everywhere you look these days.Unfortunately we are quickly running out of usable land space for urban growth, and it seems our city fathers are bent on destroying what is and always has been the charm and draw of our beautiful city, with it’s downtown heritage buildings and the scenic views of Okanogan lake. Soon there will be nothing left of the view as there are plans in the works to build six or more high rise towers right there behind the boats. and more towers are being built along the lake shore all the time. The view of the lake and mountains will soon be obliterated by concrete and steel.
Such is progress I guess, although I am not very happy about it. When I moved to this beautiful valley in 1967 there were only ten thousand people living in Kelowna. It was a small friendly community, and quiet most of the year, other than summer time when it has always been inundated with tourists from all over the world, seeking sun and fun,what with the warm waters of the lake, the fruit orchards bursting with a variety of delightful tastes and smells, and the mountains full of trails and small lakes for exploring,camping,fishing and hiking. Our four seasons playground has become a little too famous and popular it seems, and now with a strong economy,and plenty of work it is drawing people in droves, to live here on a more permanent basis. But alas the valley floor is so small and the demand for housing has become so large that it has eaten up all the available land. Housing has spread up the mountain sides all around the valley floor where ever you look. There are well over 140,000 people in the city proper and another 150-200,000 within 40 kilometers of the city on both sides of the lake. Lake front property has all been bought up long ago and is at a high premium, if it ever does come up for sale. Housing costs have soared through the roof, with the average home selling for well over $350,000 and many selling for $500,000 to millions of dollars. Most houses have become totally out of reach for all but the wealthiest amongst us and now the focus is changing to the high rise condominium towers such as the one you see in this photograph. There are towers being built everywhere you look in the city from one end to the other now and soon it is all you will see. There will no longer be the scenic vistas as there once was.The only view will be concrete and steel everywhere you look. In order to actually see the lake you will either have to be high up on the mountainside or right down on the lake shore itself. That is if it isn’t completely obscured by the smog and pollution from all the cars, traffic and industry, that comes along with our population explosion. Is this Progress or is this destruction?
And what will happen to the natural beauty that surrounds us on every side? What will be left of the flora and fauna that was the very thing that drew us all to this area in the first place? When it’s all dead and gone then what?
Is there a better way? A solution that will take into account all factors, and find a balance that includes all things, people and nature, needs to be found before it is too late. Agricultural land and wild natural beauty must be protected and excluded from any further encroachment at all cost while still finding a way to handle the growth and development of our ever increasing population. Is it Possible?

Artwork Comments

  • whisperingruth
  • Daniel J. McCauley IV
  • Elaine Manley
  • kcranmer
  • KarenM
  • aphoto4you
  • KatsEye
  • Antanas
  • Curtiss Simpson
  • nikspix
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