Aug 23, 2012 / 5:00 am
During the 30 odd years Keith Parkinson has lived in the Penticton area he has seen few changes on the waterfront along Okanagan Lake.
Like others in the city he feels the location is ready for a facelift, but at the same time has concerns about exactly what that will entail.
“I like the idea of making it prettier,” he said. “But I have heard talk about cutting down trees and there being half the parking spaces and I don’t like that.
“I believe there needs to be a lot more planning.”
Planning for the stretch between the Peach and the S.S. Sicamous, with plenty of public input, is exactly what the Waterfront Enhancement Select Committee is doing.
It has held three public input sessions since it was formed earlier this year, with the most recent just last week.
“When it became obvious everything was crumbling, after Councillor Mike Pearce brought up the issue, the council thought it is time to develop a master plan,” said Rod King, chair of the committee. “And since then the public has been involved in the process.”
The themes that have come through in the engagement sessions held all over town have been first and foremost 'don’t touch the beach'.
Others ideas include:
- allow for more trees
- more grass
- put in benches and bike racks.
The current path, dating back to the 70s, is also too narrow and crowded, and people were eager to get bicycles off Lakeshore Drive because it is not safe to ride there.
“What came of this is we want more green space and a five metre path,” said King. “So we ended up looking at parking and traffic flow, such as one way traffic instead of two, and do we keep the angled parking or go to parallel. The downside of that is you lose half the parking stalls.”
Ultimately going into the third input meetings, the committee narrowed design options down to two for Lakeshore Drive.
The first, King said, being two way traffic and going to parallel parking to make way for a wider path and green space.
The other is one way traffic from the Peach to Power Street and then two way from there to the SS Sicamous.
In that second option the first 100 metres west of the Peach would be angled parking and thereafter it would be parallel parking.
“Again what we found were people were overwhelmingly happy something was being done, but there were still concerns about the parking and the one way versus the two way,” he said. “Our hope is there would be additional parking on Power Street and in the SS Sicamous area.”
The other component of citizen engagement is an online survey currently available on the city’s website until Aug. 29.
Ultimately each option costs about $7 million. When a final option is selected, costs will be determined.
The next step will be to review all suggestions and take a conceptual plan to the City Council by mid-September.
“My hope is we can create a waterfront that encourages our citizens to take family and friends to the beach on a more regular basis, not just in summer but shoulder seasons as well,” said King.
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