Dog walkers, joggers and people pushing baby strollers were among those enjoying the fully-opened Okanagan Lake walkway on Tuesday in Penticton.
The fence sections were removed, allowing the public to walk along the entire path from the Peach to the S.S. Sicamous for the first time since construction started months ago.
"I was leery about this at first, but now I love it," said Terry Ring, as she walked her dog Harley. "I feel like we have come into the 21st century, without losing the ambience here."
This week marks the finalization of the seven month project that was completed over two phases for the one kilometre, multi-use path.
The final concrete placement near the S.S. Sicamous occurred during the holidays and required at least a week to cure under insulated covers. Ice had formed on the new walkway due to the cold weather, causing a slight delay in opening.
But the recent warm temperatures melted the ice, making the concrete path safe for the public.
Mayor Garrry Litke said he was thrilled with the enhancements to the walkway.
"The new pathway is safer, more accessible and provides a much better user experience," he said. "Residents and visitors will enjoy the new walkway for generations to come, and this was the vision set out by council in making waterfront enhancement a strategic priority."
Those out enjoying the finished walkway in this warm January weather, shared the mayor's enthusiasm.
"We are loving this," said Don Michiel, as he strolled along with his wife. "It is user friendly, the walkway is wide and we can bring our dog down."
While a woman, who gave her name as Amber, said it was now comparable to what you find on the other end of town.
"Skaha Park has always been the nicer end of town, but this is starting to step it up a bit with a more welcoming nature," she said.
In addition to the walkway, all the trees have been planted, the streetlights are operational and street furniture, signage and picnic tables have been installed.
Most of the angle parking is fully open to the public from the Peach to the S.S. Sicamous and remaining paved parking areas and some landscaping will be completed in the spring.
"The project is approaching completion, and we are projecting it will be completed within budget," said city engineer Ian Chapman.