The fences are coming down and the Peach Plaza near Okanagan Lake will be ready to stroll through by this weekend.
While Rotary Park and the public washrooms remained open, the walkway from the giant peach to Kiwanis Pier – which stretches through a portion of Rotary Park – was under construction for the past three months. Crews were working to add more signage and amenities, widen the walkway, add patterned concrete in a circular shape around the Peach (which will alternate between smooth and exposed aggregate as it leads into the water), landscape the area near the sculptures and install a bicycle hub area – which will offer air pumps, maps, a repair station and bike racks. Also the ramp into the lake will be four metres wide.
“They’re on the home stretch of that project right now, and we’ll likely have an opening in a few days,” said Simone Blais, communications officer for the City of Penticton.
The new design near the peach was moulded through a public consultation process in 2014, though the overall initiative is to complete a large waterfront revitalization project along Lakeshore Drive which began in 2013.
“While the new walkway extends to The Peach on Lakeshore Drive, the walkway around Rotary Park that leads to Kiwanis Pier (was) in need of replacement,” reads the city website.
The construction was scheduled incrementally to avoid disrupting large crowds.
“Revitalization construction projects are typically scheduled in the off-season, so as to lessen the impact on event organizers and local businesses,” said Blais.
For those who spent time at Rotary Park last month, the walkway required some commuters to take a detour for access to Kiwanis Pier, Okanagan Lake Park and the Lakeshore Casino and Resort because of the narrow corridor during construction.
The revitalized walkway will only lead as far as the Kiwanis Pier, as the new designs have not yet been finalized.
“The Peach Plaza and walkway will be completed up to the north end of Rotary Park by the parking lot (and) Martin Street extension,” she said.
The walkway work along Lakeshore Drive began in 2013, which extended the walkway to three feet wide, and added modern lighting, seating and landscaping.
Blais said the cost of the Peach Plaza is still being finalized since it had to be deferred until the full design is complete, adding that the federal government supported the construction with Gas Tax funds.
On Friday, June 12 at 10:30 a.m. the official re-opening of the Okanagan Lake waterfront walkway will take place.