Members of two special interest groups want to see city land currently leased by the Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) and the disc golf club redesignated as a park.
During the committee of the whole on May 21, Doug Cox, with Riddle Road FireSmart, and Karen Brownlee, with Protect Penticton Parks Society, requested council have the Parks Advisory Committee look into redesignating the 332-acre lot at 1400 Riddle Rd. as a parks and rec area instead of its current forestry/grazing designation.
Cox said he believes this designation would allow special interest groups and volunteers to remove felled trees and make the area “fireproof.”
“We are a very proactive (Riddle Road) community and (have installed) a one-kilometre irrigation system to increase humidity, put in by (a resident). It is under pressure 24-7 during the fire season from the resident’s well,” said Cox, showing a picture of the system rigged along a fence line near a road in the area. “I’d like you to note that the trees have been cut two metres up and the grass is growing in there. Cattle are brought in to keep the grass down and make it safe and fireproof.”
Cox then compared this to the city-owned property at 1400 Riddle Rd. and noted “massive fuel build-up” along with the cycling paths due to “standing or fallen dead trees.” He also said residents of the nearby community were concerned with how the contractor for PACA was creating paths in this area, stating the paths were too wide and coming too close to private property.
“The community brought the city in (to the area) for consultation with PACA and we did convince them that in this area they should be using hands instead of a machine which makes a wide track through,” said Cox. “A Riddle Road resident spent the weekend of April 27 and 28 up on a mountain, getting in the way of a machine to stop it from going across a meadow that is close to residents and an agricultural community.”
Council voted unanimously to send the matter to PAC for future consideration. Isaac Gilbert, the chair of PAC, stated in earlier correspondence with Cox that if the matter comes before the committee “I will make sure you are given our full focus and commitment.”
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