The Centre Beach parcel the RDOS is interested in purchasing, as seen on the NaramataSlow Facebook page. (Facebook)

The Centre Beach parcel the RDOS is interested in purchasing, as seen on the NaramataSlow Facebook page. (Facebook)

It does take a village to save a beach

Nearly $600K raised so far to preserve Naramata park

It takes a village to save a beach, and Naramata is getting closer to doing just that.

Houses, businesses, and wineries in Naramata are decorated in green ribbons as fundraising efforts ramp up to save the Naramata beach from being developed.

Community group NaramataSlow started the fundraiser to save the beach on Sept. 18 with a goal of raising $850,000 by the Oct. 31 deadline.

The group’s $850,000 goal would reduce the $1.7 million cost of the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen to purchase the parcel of waterfront property.

“The green ribbon campaign is definitely gaining momentum this week,” said Dawn Lennie, on behalf of the NaramataSlow campaign.

“The October tasting room challenge was championed by Rachel Ansems of Daydreamer Wines. To date, Daydreamer Wines, Elephant Island Wines and Legend Distilling have committed to donating their October tasting fees to the cause.”

Gayle Grant of Naramata Lakeside Guesthouse has challenged all Discover Naramata Member Accommodators to support the campaign as well, said Lennie.

Legend Distrillery and numerous wineries are dedicating their October tasting fees to saving the Naramata beach.

“The community is really rallying now – there are kids posting videos on why Naramata Centre Beach is special to them,” she said. “Kids are doing a bottle drive for money to donate, community members challenging others on their street to ‘paint their street green’ with green ribbon on everyone’s door from donating. It’s really great to see.”

As of Monday morning, they have raised $597,863.

READ MORE: Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen applying for grants for Keremeos and Kaleden

The RDOS currently has an offer with the Naramata Centre Society for the parcel that features the wharf and is the centre of the beachfront in Naramata.

“There’s a parcel right across of a road end, there’s three small lots there as well, that we don’t have the money for right now but wanted to put an option or first right of refusal on those,” said Bill Newell, the RDOS’ chief administrative officer. “Then they proposed three small lots that could be a potential location for a community centre in the future. We’ve got lots of stuff floating in the air.”

The current offer from the RDOS is for $1.7 million for the parcel of beachfront. The lots haven’t been put on the market, and the Naramata Centre Society is dealing directly with the RDOS first.

Those funds would reduce the amount of money that the RDOS would need to borrow, and reduce the chance that residents decide against a loan when the RDOS goes to them with a required borrowing bylaw.Whether NaramataSlow is able to raise all of the funds they want or not, the RDOS will be going forward with getting a sales agreement for the land. Once there is an agreed price, the RDOS will go to the public with how much would be required in borrowing.

“At this point, we’re just waiting for comments back on the agreements that we’ve sent over to them,” said Newell. “It’s going to be fairly quick I think.”

If the RDOS does get the funding and assent from the public, the parcel would be maintained as a park for the public.

For more information on the NaramataSlow fundraiser, you can go to their website at naramataslow.com or search for It Takes a Village to Save a Beach on wayblaze.com.

READ MORE: Volunteers needed for Oct. 18 community cleanup of River Channel

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