Crews start Penticton waterfront revitalization

It’s been a long time coming, but preparation work for the Waterfront Revitalization project is set to begin this week.

The SS Sicamous sits behind a row of marked trees scheduled for removal Thursday  morning on Lakeshore Drive as part of the City of Penticton's preparation work for the planned revitalization of the Okanagan Lake waterfront. Construction is expected to begin early next month and during the schedule beach access and parking will be impacted.

The SS Sicamous sits behind a row of marked trees scheduled for removal Thursday morning on Lakeshore Drive as part of the City of Penticton's preparation work for the planned revitalization of the Okanagan Lake waterfront. Construction is expected to begin early next month and during the schedule beach access and parking will be impacted.

It’s been a long time coming, but preparation work for the Waterfront Revitalization project is set to begin this week.

According to the schedule proposed for the $2.125 million project, the full construction phase is expected to start in the first week of April; from there work crews will be rushing to complete as much as possible before June 15. That date was chosen to interfere as little as possible with the summer tourist season and work will not begin again until September.

The work commencing this week is site preparation, which will include both removal of light standards along the walkway along the northern side of Lakeshore Drive as well as the removal of trees affected by the realignment and expansion of the boardwalk. The city has promised to replace all of the removed trees, as well as planting 20 additional trees along the waterfront along with another 20 at the proposed Marina Way outlook, east of the Penticton Art Gallery.

“City staff will be attempting to mitigate the impact on neighbouring residents and businesses as much as possible, and encourage people to contact us if they need assistance,” said Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations. Sidewalks along Lakeshore will probably be closed for periods of time, and the City of Penticton is asking strollers to be aware of warning signs and barriers.

The contract for the main part of the work is out to tender, and is expected to be awarded in early April. Communications officer Simone Blais said that while details are still being worked out, the city is planning a public information meeting in April with the contractor in attendance to explain the project to the community and answer questions from residents. Regular project updates will be available at www.penticton.ca/waterfront.

The plan includes a new walkway, four metres wide, starting at the SS Sicamous, greater accessibility to the beach and amenities for mobility challenged users, and enhanced street lighting along the walkway with energy-efficient LEDs.

At The Peach, the walkway will be widened and a boardwalk built over the water connecting with the existing walkway, along with other enhancements and infrastructure repairs between the Sicamous and the Peach.

Part of the funding for the project comes from the federal government, via a $1.2-million contribution from the gas tax fund.