Upon reading the Summerland Review a number of weeks ago I stumbled upon a letter regarding the new Summerland library and how great the new look was.
This article is mainly picking on the library, but really has nothing to do with its function. The library is an excellent facility that serves many important functions, is in a good location, judged on its own merit doesn’t look too bad, and I believe our new library will serve its purpose well.
The gentleman in the article was praising the look of the new library, and how he was glad that the architecture was not the old Tudor theme. I completely disagree.
Of the many places I have visited that had a certain charm or appeal, almost all had a theme. The stronger the theme, the more appeal it has as a tourist destination.
When you go to certain areas in Greece, Paris, Italy or Hawaii, most of us have come to expect a certain theme and a charm that goes along with it.
There has been an incredible amount of talk in our community about how we can spur local economic activity, but one of the most obvious items has been skirted aside since it has already been attempted, sort of.
Last spring a few friends and I decided to go for a motorbike trip. One of the first questions was what a good destination would be. Right away my mind started thinking about a number of things… warm water, unique topography, and, you guessed it: interesting architecture. If we didn’t care about those things, we would have simply driven to downtown West Kelowna or Oliver as they both have none of those things in my opinion.
We ended up choosing Leavenworth and Winthrop. Why? Because they are unique to almost all of the other thousands of little towns that dot our vast landscapes. They take you back in time, let you dream and imagine how things once were and almost let you be a kid again filled with wonder.
How do we attract businesses to our community and spur on economic development? Choose a common theme. Does it have to be the Tudor theme? Not necessarily. By the looks of the new police station and the library it looks like we are going with a Tomorrow Land theme from Disneyland. Is it my favourite? No. I would much prefer almost any other theme found at Disneyland.
Often architects’ cutting-edge future designs may look appealing for a short time but end up looking like a dated eyesore in five to 10 years. Anyone who has taken a drive though the older part of the British properties in West Vancouver can attest to this. There are many 10- to 30-year-old multi-million dollar homes that seemed cutting edge when I was a young chap, but now look like some Back to the Future dream gone wrong.
I understand architectural preference can be extremely varied person by person, but I have to ask why when going to Leavenworth or Winthrop was it so hard to find a vacancy, or why do I find Disneyland or other places on the globe so appealing? It’s because of the unique architecture and theme, along with the culture, or main message that speaks from that location.
What is or should be Summerland’s main vision or identity? What sets our town apart from all of the others?
What reason should we give to people to conduct business, vacation, and or live here?