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Section of Okanagan Lake walkway open

A large section of the new concrete walkway on west Okanagan Lake in Penticton is now open to the public.

Fencing came down Monday, allowing walkers, joggers and other outdoor enthusiasts access to the updated waterfront. 

"We feel great about it," said Mayor Garry Litke. "As soon as the fencing came down, there was this pent up demand, with people immediately on it."

Initially people challenged the width planned for the walkway, he added, but the value of that is it can be used by a wide variety of traffic, as well as being more accessible for those who are mobility challenged.

The most recent construction is from where the first phase left off in June near the lane that runs between Churchill Avenue and Lakeshore Drive to Power Street.

It includes the concrete walkway, landscaping with new trees and some new signage.

Work is continuing on the project from Power Street to the SS Sicamous, with the walkway in that portion fully anticipated to open at the end of the first week in January.

"It came in within budget, and we are very happy with it," said Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations for the city.

The city will complete the paving in the parking area in the spring of 2014.

Although the project to upgrade the aging waterfront initially met with resistance from residents concerned about the loss of angled parking and beach area,  people using it this week had nothing but praise.

"I was initially worried that it might take away from the beach," said Sharon Pilon. "But now that I see it and walk on it, I think it has been beautifully done."

Another Penticton resident Chris Noonan said it will be great for everyone from seniors to people walking with babies and those visiting the city.

"I think it's a positive addition to a city that relies on tourism," he said.



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