Kelowna Mountain is back. Again. Maybe.
Located on sweeping slopes and billing itself as a hidden gem with breathtaking and unique views of the Okanagan, Kelowna Mountain certainly offers spectacular sights of the valley and lake. Yet from its inception since 2005, development of this 259-acre park and its grand vision have been fraught with problems.
This week, the owners of Kelowna Mountain, Mark and Nicola Consiglio, said it will again be opening for business on Saturdays and Sundays during July and August from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We have been open every summer, but we haven’t done any marketing or advertising or anything like that,” Nicola Consiglio said from Vancouver. “There’s been a lot of media, obviously, on some issues that we had so there’s a lot of grey ground out there as to what’s happening.
“But we have been open for every summer. We shortened our hours to weekends only … and that was primarily because of a change in our family, having to be in Vancouver for our kids. We hope to extend those hours in the future, but it’ll be much the same this year, open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
Regarding what to expect, Nicola said it’ll be “more of the same, with the four suspension bridges, waterfall and cave.”
That Kelowna Mountain is opening for business was news to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, which said Kelowna Mountain didn’t have a business licence last year.
“It’s come to our attention that apparently Kelowna Mountain is going to open for the summer over weekends,” Bruce Smith, spokesperson for the RDCO, said on Friday. “There’s been no indication, direct indication, that they’re opening, other than that it’s come to our attention that they’re apparently going to open on weekends.
“At this time, there’s no active business licence in place. Our business licensing bylaw requires that any business operating in the electoral areas have to have a current business licence. So we would anticipate the operators will comply with that and get a current business licence.”
According to Smith, the last business licence Kelowna Mountain had was in 2016. It was under an agri-tourism designation, he added.
Financial issues have dogged Kelowna Mountain for years. For example, in August 2016, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered Mark Consiglio to pay for three defaulted mortgages. In February 2017, there was a court-ordered sale of Kelowna Mountain for half the property.
Nicola said Mark had come up with the cash to keep the mountain after a profitable business venture in Vancouver, although she couldn’t say exactly what it was.
“We’re happy. There’s been issues (with the RDCO) that we’re not happy about,” she said. “But I’d think we’d love to see a relationship move forward where we’re doing something that they’re happy about.”
She added: “I’d like to see us work together better. We have had issues in the past, but I think moving forward we really need to work together and have a better relationship at the end of the day.”