Widened Okanagan Lake walkway unveiled

The ribbon has been cut on the latest stretch of Okanagan Lake waterfront walkway as part of the city’s ongoing revitalization project.

From the left

From the left

The ribbon has been cut on the latest stretch of Okanagan Lake waterfront walkway as part of the city’s ongoing revitalization project.

The walkway was designed to accommodate all non-motorized transportation, and the stretch along Rotary Park can now be travelled without interruption.

“I want to see you all on your roller blades, skateboards and anything else with wheels,” said deputy Mayor Helena Konanz following the ribbon cutting ceremony on June 12.

The area of the walkway that was reopened sits north of Rotary Park, and had its paving stones replaced with three-metre wide concrete path. The lighting that was installed is energy-efficient lighting; additional seating was installed; and the landscape was designed to repel geese. And to showcase the city’s signature landmark, intersecting arcs and concentric circles have been built around the Peach concession stand.

“The old walkway was uneven but it was still okay,” said Coun. Andre Martin. “With this smooth surface you can rollerblade — it’s a great extension to the work that’s already been done.”

Rod King, who serves as the head of the waterfront enhancement committee, said the project has been a reflection of the support we’re receiving from the community.

“So many of our own citizens want to get out and experience the tranquility,” he said. “If we build it right for our residents, the tourists will love it. And we better build it right for the residents — we live here year round and we’re paying for it.”

King was born and raised in Penticton, and he sees Penticton’s waterfront as a real jewel in the Okanagan.

“The walkway’s fabulous it really is —when were completed the first section it felt great to see how many people were using it.”

“Penticton is known for its stunning lakes and beaches, and extending the walkway along this section of waterfront trail showcases the community’s natural beauty,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said in a press release.

The first phase of the project started in 2013, and the stretch that was recently completed began in March.

There was $661,000 granted to the city through the federal Gas Tax Funds to support the project.

“This project is a great example how dedicated gas tax funding can help communities create and improve local infrastructure that encourages an active healthy lifestyle,” said Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas. “I hope all citizens take the time to walk this area and enjoy Penticton’s wonderful waterfront that is now more accessible to our community and many visitors.”

In replacing the walkway, more than 100 pallet of paving stones were salvaged from the old one and silently auctioned off to the community. There were 135 bids submitted by 35 bidders, which raised a total of $9,727. That money was donated to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation for the Penticton Regional Hospital Patient Care Tower expansion project.

“We’re thrilled by the support from the City through their paving stone auction,” said Janice Perrino, executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. “Penticton Regional Hospital belongs to our entire region and the region is clearly showing its support for the campaign to supply the medical equipment for the Patient Care Tower. We’re thankful to everyone involved.”