According to a telephone survey conducted by Urban Systems, Penticton residents support small commercial uses in parks, but waterslides are a definite no.
When asked about commercial uses in parks, the strongest support was for small food vendors, situated off the sand in waterfront parks, followed by food concession buildings and small merchandise vendors. But when asked for comments to guide the city on new commercial uses in parks, 26 per cent (50) of the 193 comments opposed the idea altogether, and another 21 per cent (41) opposed waterpark or waterslide developments. At the other end of the spectrum, only 18 comments were in favour of waterslides or waterparks, and another five responded that any new commercial uses were OK.
Those comments ranged from a simple “I support waterparks” to “They should not have permanent structures built that take up green space.”
The breakout table in the report, though, seems to indicate support for waterslides. “Amusements like mini golf, outdoor climbing walls and waterslides” shows 22 per cent support for “on city beaches” and 41 per cent for “in waterfront parks, off the sand.”
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the questions in the survey were not site specific and that can explain the range of feedback given.
The Community Telephone Survey, which was delivered to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee in July, surveyed 400 people in Penticton with 58 per cent of the respondents between 20 and 59 years old. Overall, the survey results showed high satisfaction with both indoor and outdoor recreation in Penticton. The most common improvement requested for parks, benches and trails related to the cleanliness of public washrooms, off-leash dog parks and better control of dog areas and public safety in parks after dark.
“I think the public washroom cleanliness is an ongoing concern and something that may address in the 2017 budget with a few more dollars allocated towards it,” said Jakubeit.
The top outdoor activity was walking, hiking or jogging, followed by visiting a beach and attending a festival or special event in a park. These uses received strong support – 75 per cent for foot travel – it wasn’t as high as in other communities, where walking/hiking uses were in the 83 to 96 per cent range, and attendance at festivals were in the 74 to 85 per cent range.
“Penticton residents are not as active in outdoor recreation as comparable communities based on other, similar, surveys conducted by the consultants,” reads the report, a comment echoed in the section on indoor recreation, where the most used facilities were the South Okanagan Events Centre and the Community Centre Pool.
“In total, 25 per cent of survey respondents reported not having attended any facilities in the past year,” it says.
A draft Parks and Recreation master plan is expected to be released next week for public comment by the committee, which meets next on Nov. 3.