Old road becomes new park
Jun 7, 2012 / 5:00 am
City officials, nature lovers and several wet, but enthusiastic dogs, gathered at the opening of Ellis Creek Park in Penticton on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.
While dogs ran through puddles on the grass, Mayor Dan Ashton, MLA Bill Barisoff and public works manager Len Robson welcomed the public to the new green space that includes a dog park and trailhead for hikers and cyclists.
“This is a huge environmental enhancement, an investment that will pay off for years to come and one of our bigger openings for a multitude of guests,” said Ashton.
Before the Ellis Creek Park and Walkway project transformed the small area off Industrial Avenue into a park it was an unsightly roadway.
Through construction, old asphalt and road gravel were removed and replaced with new soils, mulches and indigenous trees and shrubs which will help improve the creek side riparian ecosystem.
At first it was just going to be a trailhead park but adding on the dog park made sense at a time when the latter is in demand, said Robson.
“People bring their dogs when they walk and cycle and people are loving the existing off leash parks in the city,” he said.
Trails and routes, hikers, cyclists and pedestrians can now access from the starting point include the Okanagan River Channel, Ellis Creek Walkway, the Trans Canada Trail and local road biking networks.
Signs are in place throughout the new park at 100 Industrial Place to provide information on the creek corridor, a habitat for many animal and plant species.
The attached off-leash area for man’s best friend offers furniture, bike racks and potable water.
Bruce Neufeld, who showed up with his dog Jasper, said the green space was long overdue.
“It was sad wasted space before and now it’s a nice place to be by the creek, which is always soothing,” he said.
Karyn Walker looked forward to playing with her dogs in the park and walking on the trails.
“Dogs get bored, so it’s nice to have somewhere to take them and I have never walked the trails here before, so it will be interesting to do that,” she said.
The $130,000 project was bolstered by a provincial LocalMotion grant from 2008 of $47,250 to support greener, healthier and more accessible communities.
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