Penticton City Council to decide on basic, recreation or competition level for Riverside Park skate park lighting

Basic lights not enough?

After three Penticton councillors introduced a notice of motion in early spring to install lights at the skate park in Riverside to improve safety, city council now has to decide how much they'd like to fork over.

Coun. Ryan Graham, Coun. Isaac Gilbert and Coun. Amelia Boultbee detailed their motion in April for council, which would direct staff to use funds from the provincial grant—the Growing Communities Fund— to install lights at the skate park.

Riverside Skate Park, which is located at 135 Riverside Drove, currently contains no lighting for the skate park area and adjacent basketball court.

In May, Council passed a bylaw to establish a reserve fund for the Growing Communities Fund Grant of $7.177M, with 50 per cent of the funds be used on community projects including, but not limited to Downtown, Okanagan and Skaha Lake decorative seasonal lighting displays, Riverside Park Skate Park and Basketball Court Lighting, Urban Forestry Master Plan Projects, and the Kiwanis Pier Replacement.

This in turn allocated roughly $400,000 of that funding for the lighting project and has been further detailed through the draft 2024 financial plan.

On Tuesday, staff will be presenting additional details on the costs and options considered for the project.

While council will have three lighting levels to choose from, ranging in costs, staff's report emphasized that regardless of the lighting level selected, an electrical service will need to be extended to the site, and the estimated cost of this service is roughly $85k-$100k due to the length of service and infrastructure in the area.

The first option, which is the basic lighting option, includes lighting the skate park and basketball courts with city standard streetlights (or similar) for a total cost of roughly $180k (including the electrical service noted above).

Staff are recommending against this option, given that it wouldn't improve much and could be a safety risk.

"While this would not achieve any standards for sports and recreation facilities, it would provide some lighting to the area relative to what is there today. However, there would not be a consistent lighting level or uniformity across the park, which would result in shadowing of various elements of the skate park including the bowls, rails, and jumps. The shadowing effect would create a safety hazard for users," the report reads.

The recreational lighting option, which is recommended by staff, includes Class III illuminance targets for skate parks, and Class IV illuminance targets for outdoor basketball courts.

"Skate park and basketball court lighting of this level is considered to be appropriate for recreational use," staff said.

The lighting is proposed to be built on four structures on the north, northeast, south, and southwest corners of the skate park. The basketball court will be illuminated from the south and southwest structures (P1 and P2), and will not include dedicated lighting structures on the southern side of the courts.

The estimated total cost (again including the electrical service) of this level of lighting is $350,000.

The last option, competition level, as the name suggests outlines lighting levels for competition grade facilities.

"The lighting for the basketball court would remain “recreation level” as it would only be coming from one side of the court. The premium for this higher level of lighting is roughly $50-75k more than the recreation level lighting and may exceed the previously budgeted amount. In discussions with recreation staff, it was agreed that it would be more appropriate to bring in additional temporary competition lighting should the City wish to host future events that would require additional lighting levels, rather than paying this premium up front."

The estimated total cost (again including the electrical service) of this level of lighting would be over $400,000.

Staff said they are of the opinion "that if the city is going to light the Skate Park, including the effort of extending electrical service to the area, the city should install the recreational level lighting in accordance with the recommended practice."

Council will discuss the options on Tuesday.

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