Concepts for Penticton waterfront put to public

Despite vocal opposition to the first two proposals for revitalizing the Okanagan Lake waterfront, they will be presented as options during a public forum next week, when the public will get a chance to review two new proposals.

Council got its first look at two new concepts generated by the Waterfront Enhancement Select Committee at a special council meeting Wednesday.

Both concepts are much more conservative than the two proposals brought forward in August, with concept 3 doing little more than repairing the infrastructure problems.

Concept 4 makes some minor enhancements to create a wider walking path along the waterfront. Both, however, include greater accessibility to allow handicapped access to the beach and water at various points.

The cost is considerably lower as well. If all aspects of the first two concepts had been implemented, the costs would have been in the range of $7 million, over and above the $1.2 million in gas tax grants the city has set aside for the project. In contrast, concept 3 would cost about $75,000 while concept 4 would be about $550,000, in addition to the $1.2 million.

Mayor Dan Ashton said the first two concepts would have been too costly to implement in full.

“The city doesn’t have $7 million,” said Ashton. But both remain on the table, he said, for continuing public input.

All the plans were developed, he said, with input from the public on what they desired for the waterfront and it is up to the public to say what parts they support.

“It is important to hear what the community has to say before any decision is made,” said Ashton. “Any combination thereof or new additions to put into it.”

Ashton and other councillors also made the point that they have not come to any decision about which they prefer and are instead wanting more public input.

“These are concepts, this was input from people and citizens of Penticton,” said Ashton. “Council has heard loud and clear about the concerns over concepts 1 and 2.”

The first two concepts met with strong opposition over changes in the traffic pattern along Lakeshore Drive and the replacement of the current angle parking with parallel. One of the most vocal was Clifford Martin, who arranged a protest on Lakeshore to rally opposition and raise public awareness.

Martin is concerned that the inclusion of the original two plans in the public forum means the parking and traffic changes may still be implemented, and in his view, ruin what he calls the best beach in Western Canada.

Martin is planning a second rally on Saturday at 11 a.m. on Lakeshore Drive between Main Street and the Peach area to again raise awareness of the proposed changes.

All four proposals will be on display on Tuesday at city council chambers and the community centre.

On Wednesday, they will be on display at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre from noon to 6 p.m., with a public forum starting at 6 p.m.


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