Osoyoos’ Legion Beach might be getting a multi-million dollar upgrade, including a public washroom facility that is estimated to cost $450,000, according to comments from Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff.
Osoyoos town staff will be working on preparing potential changes to the budget for a revamp of Legion Beach.
Council voted 3-2 on April 13 to direct staff to go forward with the option for the full project and prepare amendments to add the full $3.56 million cost of the project to the town’s five-year financial plan.
Staff will provide the amendments, as well as additional information on public engagement and answers to questions from council for a later council meeting.
The town received $700,000 in grant funding from the Provincial Tourism Dependent Community Initiative, which requires the town commit to providing the amenities included in grant application.
The project will see improvements to accessibility for the beach and lake, additional mobile vendor areas and an all-season washroom facility among other planned upgrades.
The other main focus of the project would be to rework the intersection of 62nd Street and 89th Street, in order to make it safer for pedestrians and to adjust the water and wastewater mains.
“I think it’s a very necessary thing. It’s a terrible road configuration so for me, the most important thing is safety and redoing the road,” said McKortoff.
McKortoff continued to note how the limited number of parking spots leads to beachgoers parking along the street, making visibility a concern.
The mayor also had some issues with the proposed washroom included in the project’s budget.
The beach’s original washroom was removed in 2018, in order to make room for the upgraded wastewater pump station. A replacement had been planned, but was removed due to budget constraints.
“I have some concerns, I think $450,000 for a washroom and change room down there is quite frankly outrageous, and I have said that before,” said McKortoff.
The mayor pointed to the washroom at Gyro Beach, which is larger than Legion Beach, as an example that is more appropriately sized than the proposed construction.
The budget for the project is set at $3,428,000, with an additional $129,000 for unanticipated expenses.
The project’s costs would be made up by the $700,000 in grant funding, $300,000 from the water reserve, $200,000 from the sewer reserve, $1,052,000 reallocated from the community works program budget for 2021-23, $500,000 from the land acquisition reserve, $760,000 from the RMI Waterfront Enhancement fund and $45,000 from the operating capital budget for the washroom design.
This would result in the following projects being deferred to later years.
Coun. Brian Harvey took issue with the redirection of the land acquisition fund to the project.
“I don’t see any land being acquired here, and the price of land is only going up,” said Harvey during the council meeting.
Staff responded by noting that the fund would still have over $1 million after pulling out the money for the project, and that the fund was not created by a strict bylaw or policy that set what the funds could be used for.
The RMI Waterfront Enhancement fund would require a submission to the provincial government for approval.
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