I reached out to a friend recently, who I hadn’t spoken with in over a year. It was a friend request on Facebook, which thankfully she accepted. There’s nothing worse than having a friend request denied.
After a few messages back and forth with what we had been up to, she shared with me she was working for a company that’s starting a new Kelowna online magazine. I mentioned I had been doing some writing and had recently finished my first book.
“You should write for us,” she messaged back.
“I’d love too” I replied. “What can I write about?” I asked.
“Kelowna. People, places, events, things to do,” she suggested. Hmm, sounds boring I thought, but ok. I’ll give it a shot.
I am currently on my third tour of Kelowna life. I love the Okanagan, and while it can vary quite a bit from one end of the valley to the other in terms of amenities and the cost of living, Kelowna is home for me.
It appears there is a new influx of Vancouverites to our wonderful city, and I am not sure I am totally cool with it.
Sure, we love our Seasonal tourists, whether they are from Alberta or Saskatchewan or other parts of BC, but they have been joined by a new species migrating from their nests on the lower mainland, with Lattes and Quinoa and VW’s that don’t past the emission’s tests. They are testing my patience.
You know what I’m talking about, you’ve experienced it too. Great, see, now I sound like my friends who were born and raised here. Yup, I actually know a few.
Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of the 30-somethings from the coast cashing in their expensive Vancouver condo’s and buying up Kelowna.
We are seeing a lot of new housing, apartment, and condo developments and that’s good news because the vacancy rate is zero. Well, maybe not zero, but close to it.
However, all the new buyers are driving up prices and rent. The real estate market is doing quite well, thank you very much.
New businesses are popping up all over, and that’s great for the local economy. New jobs, more tax dollars, and more money being spent locally. Also, it means my 16-year-old son may actually find a part-time job. I like that idea. In the words of Jim Carry from Dumb and Dumber, “I like it a lot.” I also like the small indie businesses and love experiencing the owner/operator customer service.
Our new citizens are quickly finding out the surrounding environment offers many opportunities to enjoy my girl Mona. (Mother Nature).
You can snowboard, hike, Mountain bike, golf, and waterski on the same day if Mona co-operates.
Sure, the water might be a little cool, or the snow a little slushy, but hey, you can still do it. The only real drawback is running into a waft of perfume as you hike down Knox, or feeling underdressed without the latest lulu outfit, and sometimes getting a t-time on your favourite golf course can be a challenge.
Perhaps the biggest frustration with all of the transplants is the additional traffic.
We have come to accept and tolerate the increase in tourists from May long weekend through to labour day, but it seems to start earlier now and last well into October.
Have you driven down Enterprise on a weekday afternoon lately? Ah, the price we pay to live in Kelowna. As my Vancouver friends remind me, though, a 15 to 20-minute commute would be awesome, so shut up and stop complaining.
Our city and surrounding areas are growing.
You can see and feel it from West Kelowna to Lake Country. I guess I’ll have to get used to longer lines, more traffic, millennials, and hipsters. After all, I am a transplant as well.
Written by Ross Hawse