'Save Lakeshore Drive'
Sep 16, 2012 / 2:24 pm
Penticton residents made it clear yet again they do not want any changes made to their beloved waterfront at a special meeting at City Hall Thursday morning.
Around 30 people filled City Council chambers to hear the latest suggestions for the waterfront enhancement project and express their feelings.
"I don't think the council communicates well with city residents, take the Ironman for example, no one knows what is going on there, and about the lakeshore, the crowd of people on the sidewalk just isn't there, so I hope you will go with minor changes," said Bob Henderson, drawing a round of applause from those attending.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss two additional options developed by the Waterfront Enhancement Select Committee after hearing from the public for weeks. The two include keeping the existing road configuration of two-way traffic and angled parking. The other involves two-way traffic and maximized angled parking to accommodate a wider multi-use path where practical.
Two earlier options, created at a series of public input sessions, including two-way traffic and going to parallel parking and a mix of one-way and two-way traffic and angled and parallel parking in the second, were not well received by the public.
A rally was organized to protest the suggestions and a proposed price tag of $7 million per option in recent weeks. A petition with more than 1,000 signatures was handed to the city council by outspoken resident Clifford Martin at the last council meeting.
"We looked at general themes, and it became obvious people wanted to save the angled parking," said Rod King, chair of the committee. "But we were still getting feedback about improving the path for people who use wheelchairs or electric scooters and that is where option four came from."
Council members who weighed in at the meeting said they were receptive to all the input to date.
"We need improvements down there for safety and access, but I know we have an incredible vista and lakefront and there is no one around this table who wants to screw that up," said Mayor Dan Ashton. "All of this stuff has been poured into a funnel and it is just starting to come down. It was never the intention of the city to just have options A or B."
Councillor Wesley Hopkin agreed that the situation remains fluid.
"I don't think options were the best words to use, we should have perhaps said ideas, and I don't think we did a good job with that," he said. "We have to realize there are these different moving parts and nothing is set in stone."
The next step will be to hold a town hall meeting, somewhere that can hold a lot of people, like the convention centre. A date for that will be set in the near future
Martin, who was in attendance wearing a T-shirt that said "Save Lakeshore Drive," thanked the committee for coming up with additional suggestions.
He hopes as discussions continue, the city will do away entirely with the first two proposals.
"To me it's obvious that no one wants them," he said. "Any extra funds should go to infrastructure and downtown revitalization."
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