COLDSTREAM, B.C. – Efforts by the District of Coldstream to purchase the Ormsby Property on the shores of Kalamalka Lake and turn the area into a park have so far failed.
Now park proponents are trying to push local politicians to find a creative solution to make the land public.
The 2.4 acres of waterfront land belonged to the late Margaret Ormsby.
“The original request of Margaret Ormsby’s was that the district purchase the property and turn it into a park and name it Ormsby Park,” says Coldstream councillor Peter McClean.
“We had the property appraised and valued at the value of a park and then we made an offer at that price and that offer was turned down,” adds McClean.
According to one of the beneficiaries of Ormsby’s estate, her will calls for the property to be sold at fair market value and his own appraisal pegs the price much higher then what the district offered.
Now the property is up for sale and the asking price is nearly $6 million.
“The bulk of council just does not see a way that this district could afford that,” says McClean.
But some like Sharon Lawrence believe there is still hope to turn the Ormsby Property into a park.
Lawrence says 100 people have signed a petition calling on Coldstream council to try to purchase the property and allow taxpayers to make the decision on an offer price.
“Unfortunately, the price tag that they’ve put on it is very high but I’m hoping that the community will see that this is important,” says Lawrence.
Coldstream councillor Maria Besso is onside and would have liked to see purchase negotiations continue.
“It’s up to the public really to tell the politicians that they really, really want this as a park, they are willing to have us negotiate at a higher price or to come up with some funds,” says Besso.
Those who want the land to become a park are also looking at regional governments to step in.
However, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has already declined to purchase the property.
Besso and Lawrence are now looking at creative solutions to make the land public.
“There are grants to be had,” says Lawrence, “There are wealthy people who see the environment as a worthwhile cause today and some of those people might come forth.”
Lawrence is calling on park supporters to make their views know by calling the municipal hall or signing the petition.