Pentictonites and early season visitors are once again able to take full advantage of the walkway along the shores of Lake Okanagan.
“I like this new rubber sidewalk. It’s easier to walk on,” said Dona Guertin, who is also looking forward to the city planting new trees at the other end of the path. “It looks fresher and cleaner and it looks inviting.”
Fences came down this week from around the first construction phase of the waterfront revitalization project, opening up the recycled rubber path and over-the-water walkway east of the Peach to visitors and residents alike.
“I went for a walk about an hour ago. There is lots of people walking and everyone has a smile on their face. They seem pleased,” said acting Mayor Garry Litke.
Vince Rabbitte also likes the look of the new path, and the feel of the new walkway material.
“It looks really first class, there is lots of space for people to walk,” said Rabbitte. “I think the way they’ve done it is extremely good. It’s soft underneath here where people can walk”
The contract tender to build the walkway required a two-phase construction timeline, with work suspended as of mid-June to ensure the walkway and beach access would not be impacted during the busy summer months.
“Reaching the completion of Phase 1 of the project is incredible, and builds excitement for the full completion this fall,” said Litke. “We are still expecting walkway construction will be completed on time and on budget, which is great news for Penticton residents.”
Litke said that the oversight committee charged with overseeing the budget met Friday morning.
“We still have considerable contingency in place that we haven’t used yet,” he said. “Obviously the project is not finished yet, so it is too early to start crowing, but so far we are definitely on budget target.”
Project elements that have been completed to date include a modified plaza of pavers around the Peach that shape the realigned walkway; recycled rubber walkway through the existing trees; concrete walkway over the water; and a section of the multi-use path has been built from the Peach to the crosswalk at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Churchill Avenue.
The goal is to give a similar facelift to the entire walkway from the Peach to the SS Sicamous, both enhancing the path and repairing infrastructure problems.
But for now, the walkway has been reopened and the public is welcome to use the path again. Users should be mindful that some segments of the path are not yet complete. Path users are asked to stay out of the small taped-off segments, as the grassed areas need approximately a week to establish. Forms underneath the boardwalk will be removed in one month, and can be done from the water.
The second phase of construction is scheduled to get underway Sept. 3, with completion slated for mid-November. For information, visit www.penticton.ca/waterfront.