Revamping the Ellis Creek Trailhead hit a roadblock last week at the council table, as the needs of one business collided with the city’s efforts to improve green space.
The city had passed first three readings of a bylaw to close the road and remove the highway dedication along a segment of Industrial Avenue, where a section of Crown land adjacent to 1690 Fairview Rd. has been identified as a prime location to accommodate four-legged residents in Penticton.
Anthony Haddad, the city’s development services director, said the strip of land between Industrial Place and Fairmont Avenue is slated to become a dog park, and offered three options for the amenity’s future configuration — including various allowances for parking and public access.
“City parks staff are keen to get moving with this project,” Haddad said.
The issue, he noted, involved the site’s current use as an informal route for semi-trailers coming from the business to the south onto the Crown land to turn around. The third option presented during the council meeting allowed for continued access by semi-trailers, but a park plan that had been scaled back from original plans.
Barbara Morrison manages the property at 102 Industrial Pl. for Noort Developments, and appeared at last week’s council meeting on behalf of the owners.
“We don’t support the park or road closure, but this is too short of a timeframe to put everything in order to come up with a plan,” she said, noting an agreement in 2008 between the city and owners stipulated advance notice would be granted of any access changes.
“We were given a preliminary drawing, but nothing was ever finalized.”
She said that the last they had dealt with the issue was to send the city a letter on Oct. 22 of last year that illustrated how to best address their concerns about changes to the property.
“One of the tenants on the property said, ‘Hey, did you know they’re going ahead with this road closure?’” she said of a conversation she had on Sept. 28. “There’s only been three business days to do anything with this.”
She asked for an extension to provide more time for input, and urged council to consider the third design option to maintain access. Morrison said that the potential for a road closure first came up in 1991 and the owners had been informed by the city at that time access would be maintained.
“We’re trusting that the city is going to honour that and that the city can take care of us,” she said.
If the city didn’t approve the third option, Morrison added, the owners were hoping for more time to work with engineers to ensure the needs of the tenants could still be met.
Coun. Mike Pearce moved to postpone the matter to allow the owners to work with the city to come up with a solution. The motion was unanimously approved by council.