Penticton and South Okanagan
Resident wants to 'blow the lid off this'
Oct 23, 2013 / 5:00 am
A proposal by residents to make an often misused trail network a permanent park, has not fallen on deaf ears.
After hearing a presentation by the Friends of Esplanade at Monday's meeting, the Penticton council agreed to send the matter to staff for further research.
"Certainly the need has been identified, and their vision would be beneficial to the community," said Mayor Garry Litke.
Hannah Pierce with the Adopt A Park Program, Friends of Esplanade, started overseeing the trail network, located between Vancouver Hill, Marina Way and the KVR Trail North, in 2009.
Since then her concerns have been the ongoing misuse and the fact that although it is considered a city park, it is not included in the current strategic plan for the city.
Over the years, she has come across garbage, homeless campsites, kids partying and graffiti as she walks the main and secondary trails.
"There are kids partying here any hour of the day, luggage and mattresses thrown away, all kinds of graffiti on the clay banks and fires, with a grass fire this summer that was either accidental or deliberately set," said Pierce.
Although she has seen some changes, since she and her dog Jasper began patrolling the park, problems exist to this day.
Just this week alone, she brought a homeless man's campsite to the attention of the city bylaw department and dealt with graffiti on informational signs.
To eliminate the misuse, she and Mike Arnett ,also with Friends of Esplanade, submitted their proposal and a letter signed by 123 residents supporting their effort to better the area to the city.
Arnett, whose home borders on the park, said the letter was well received by residents.
"We collected 58 signatures alone from residents who live along the Esplanade," he said. "I spoke to one person who said I never take my kids there, because I am afraid of who we might run into. That just underscores what we are doing here."
The proposal focuses on the group's vision to conserve the local history of the Esplanade, provide park amenities, upgrade trails as interpretive for education and to attract tourism and protect the unique biodiversity of the area.
The area has a rich history going back to the presence of the Lakeshore Mine in the 1800's.
The interpretive trail they are proposing could be up to two km long, connecting from off Vancouver Hill at Abbot Street through the Esplanade, down along the lakeshore and up to the KVR Trail.
Pierce said she was pleased with the city's reaction to their ideas and plans to continue with the upkeep and getting more residents involved.
"We are hoping to blow the lid off this, to increase the awareness of this beautiful park we have available for tourists and the public alike," she said.
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Summerland Chamber & Tourism
Town of Oliver
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School District 67 - Okanagan Skaha
School District 53 - Okanagan Similkameen
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