A local business is hoping Penticton city council can find some money in the city’s 2016 budget to spruce up the north entrance to the city.
Gordon Ferguson, general manager of the Ramada Penticton, outlined a series of concerns about both the safety and aesthetic appeal along stretch Eckhardt Avenue, immediately after the junction with Hwy 97. The Ramada is one of the businesses along this section of Eckhardt, along with the Penticton Golf and Country Club.
“The sense of arrival to this important entrance is currently quite unappealing for visitors and commuters,” said Ferguson, who expressed concerns both about the safety of the area and its lack of aesthetic appeal.
“The actual welcome to Penticton sign, is way over on the left hand side on the grass and has commercial signs in front of it,” said Ferguson. “The logo and sign itself certainly have the opportunity to be more welcoming.
“Then there is the medians in the middle of the road that just have weeds growing out of them.”
The Ramada is willing to invest in making the area more appealing, according to Ferguson.
“At the Ramada, we are constantly improving our property. One of the things we are looking at is ‘can we make our entrance better?’” said Ferguson, noting the hotel has over 600 feet of highway frontage. “If so, why don’t we have a chat with the city to see if they have an appetite to put some money into the north entrance?”
Ferguson also said the sidewalk on the south side is dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists, being in poor condition and too narrow to walk on considering the heavy truck traffic on Eckhardt.
“We have cyclists who are too afraid to be on the road,” said Ferguson, explaining that many cyclists are forced to ride on this south sidewalk due to the highway traffic.
“That again poses more risk to them being hit by side mirrors on large vehicles and hitting pedestrians themselves,” wrote Ferguson, who also suggested there is unused space on the golf club property that could be used for widening the sidewalk.
Coun. Max Picton said that a revamp of the area is long overdue.
“I think the entrance to our community from the north end does leave something to be desired,” said Picton. “It is great to see one of our corporate entities stepping up and wanting to be a part of initiating a change.”
Coun. Helena Konanz wanted to make a start on changes right away.
“I think one of the first things we can do is to get rid of, or move, that private sign that is in front of the Penticton sign. I am sure someone can just push that to the side,” said Konanz. “I fully support upgrading that sign, because it is very dated.”
Ferguson, who volunteered to be on a committee developing a plan, said he would like to see a proposal developed soon, so it could be considered as part of the 2016 budget process.