By next spring, Lakawanna Park is going to have an entirely new look.
Gordon Ferguson, who holds the lease on the concession in the park, submitted a proposal to Penticton City Council this week to not only upgrade the concession building but give the entire park a makeover.
“The current condition of the building can best be described as awful,” said Ferguson. “The interior and exterior are falling apart. Lakawanna Park deserves better.”
Ferguson’s concept shows the concession with a new facade, and the park with more plantings and outdoor café-style seating areas. The overall look, he said, was inspired by the Grand Floridian at Disneyworld in Florida.
“This beachfront, boardwalk and park-themed concession will be one we can all get excited about,” said Ferguson. “The grounds will be manufactured to perfection, the building and seating will be impeccably clean, fresh and welcoming.”
The existing children’s park and splash pad won’t be affected by the upgrades, he added.
“I am proposing that I foot the bill for the upgrade to this city-owned park and the building, pending satisfactory terms with the city,” said Ferguson.
City council was impressed with the scope of Ferguson’s vision and voted to direct staff to work with him to develop a more detailed plan and agreement.
“It looks like we are going to have one of the most outstanding concessions anywhere in Western Canada,” said Coun. Max Picton.
The concession will remain seasonal, with about 125 seats. Ferguson said he plans to battle everything Mother Nature can throw at him to extend the season as long as he can, with a combination of misters, heaters and wind blockers.
Ferguson also has plans to elevate the food available at the concession with burgers sourced from local cattle and chickens, house-made and house-cut french fries, daily baked brioche buns and homemade ice cream treats as well as acquiring a liquor licence to serve local beers and wines.
Many of the ideas, according to Ferguson, came from residents living around the park and other visitors to a pair of open houses he held at the end of October.
Ferguson said holding those two sessions to talk to the community in advance of finalizing his plans was the best decision he made, and found that people he talked to were eager to see improvements to the park and building.
That approach drew praise from Coun. Tarik Sayeed, who approved of Ferguson’s communications style.
“I watched it closely and have learnt a lot from you,” Sayeed told him. “Thank you for reminding us how it should be done, by involving the citizens.”