A section of the KVR Trail acquired a new name and got a major makeover this month.
The section of trail running between Jermyn and Edmonton Avenues was officially renamed Rotary Peace Park by Penticton council last week, and Thursday the work began to clean it up and plant some new trees. In total, 16 new trees and 150 shrubs are slated to be planted in the pocket park adjacent to Penticton Secondary and KVR Middle schools.
The name was chosen by the city’s partner in the project, the Penticton Okanagan Rotary Club, as a way to recognize the international exchange students, which they host and promote on an annual basis.
“Those kids really are ambassadors of peace throughout the world,” said Coun. Judy Sentes. “I think this is a truly lovely way to recognize that program and encourage it. It just shows the value of partnerships and underscores this tremendous program.”
According to Penticton Okanagan Rotary president Joanne Grimaldi, the real work began after a series of speeches at the pocket park, with local high school students helping to clean up the area and spread a layer of bark mulch.
They will also be planting 13 trees, to represent the last six years of Rotary exchange students.
“And each year we will be planting two more trees, all on the western side of the park,” said Grimaldi, noting that they have also partnered with the South Okanagan Brain Injury Society, who will be coming in on a quarterly basis to help with the maintenance.
“The KVR Trail is among the community’s most prized recreational assets, and creating a pocket park will make cycling, running and walking along the path even more enjoyable,” said acting mayor Garry Litke.
The city’s other partners in the project are the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Tree Canada who awarded the city a TD Green Streets grant for their dedication to improving the environment and expanding their community green spaces through forestry innovation.
“We congratulate the City of Penticton for developing an initiative that will create an important green space in their community,” said Michael Rosen, president of Tree Canada. “We’re pleased that we have been able to support the efforts of Penticton and we look forward to seeing their plan come to life.”
Penticton will receive $12,000 to support the planting of trees in a public space adjacent to the Kettle Valley Railway Trail and improve the area, part of nearly $300,000 in grants handed out to 25 communities to support innovative practices in municipal forestry.
“The goal of TD Green Streets is to encourage the adoption of leading-edge practices in urban forestry, and we want to commend the City of Penticton for developing a plan that will provide such a great enhancement to the local environment,” said Mary Desjardins, executive director of the foundation.