More to esplanade than meets the eye

Group trying to raise profile of lakeshore area in Penticton

There is a lot more history behind the area of Okanagan Lakeshore known as The Esplanade, than most people, even Pentictonites, realize.

Many probably don’t even realize the area, which stretches along the southeastern corner of the lake and the bluffs above is Penticton’s only wilderness park.

Hannah Pierce and the Friends of the Esplanade are looking to change all that. The uniqueness of the area stretches back as far as 1892, when it was dedicated in the name of King George.

“It became a legal entity on registration in 1905. The lakeshore mine is part of the area history, along with the very first school house on the Esplanade plateau in 1906,” said Pierce. Representing the Friends of the Esplanade, she brought a 122-page signature petition to Penticton city council recemt;y, asking the area be officially dedicated as a permanent city park.

“I’ve lived in Penticton for 25 years, yet there was information in your presentation that I didn’t know,” said Coun. Judy Sentes.

Both the Official Community Plan and the Heritage Strategy Plan reference the Esplanade for important habitat, ecological and historical value.

“It currently isn’t considered in the strategic priorities for the city,” said Pierce.

“With community awareness and protection, the misuse of the area would be greatly reduced,” said Pierce. “Dedication is the key to moving forward.”

Pierce said the idea is to keep the esplanade as a “natural park,” a wilderness area rich in scenery and biodiversity. Combined with the historical elements of the Esplanade, she said it could become a significant attraction.

“It overlooks the original town site of Penticton,” said Arnett. “Our vision for the park is that there be an interpretive nature trail through it and it would highlight areas of historic importance, geological importance, biodiversity as well.”

Council voted unanimously to accept the report.

 

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