Penticton shedding light on nightlife

Penticton by Night will survey those downtown at night on the city's nightlife

  • Jun. 7, 2012 6:00 a.m.

With the work week done, Saturday nights are often the night of choice for young people to celebrate by going out, mingling, dancing the night away, and more often then not, waking up to a breakfast of Gatorade and Tylenol. This Saturday will be no different; in fact, planners from the city are counting on it.

The City of Penticton is holding Penticton by Night, an event targeted at the users of the downtown area at night to find out what people think about current state of the city’s nightlife.

The event will take place Saturday from 7 p.m. until late at the Elite Restaurant at 340 Main St. Along with live music and a vinyl DJ, there will also be prizes and taxi vouchers given out to those who attend. By filling out a survey on what they think of downtown’s nightlife, participants will also receive a free poutine.

This effort comes a week after the city held an alternative transportation scavenger hunt, where participants who rely on getting around by something other than a car were cut loose downtown to find specific objects and services in the area, while keeping track of what works and what doesn’t.

These events mark the latest efforts by planners to further develop their Vibrant Penticton project.

Vibrant Penticton refers to plans by city hall to revitalize the downtown and waterfront areas of the city, updating aging infrastructure and catering to the new desires and needs of a much different population than when it was built.

“It’s like when you go in and decide to redecorate your tired home, there’s a greater sense of people wanting to gather in that space and that place, and I think that’s the opportunity for the downtown core as well,” said Barb Haynes, executive director of Penticton’s Downtown Business Association, and co-chair of the downtown revitalization committee.

The downtown revitalization project has just entered its second phase, the learning phase. Whereas the first phase saw data collected from everyone, planners are now narrowing in on specific users, such as those who rely on alternative transportation or those who use the downtown at night.

The next step for the downtown revitalization project is a design charrette, which will be held between July 9-13, where designers and stakeholders will come up with designs to address the concerns and desires of the people of Penticton.

These designs will then be shown to the public in the dialogue phases where the public and planners have a back-and-forth on the designs, and tailor them to further meet the desires of Pentictonites.

The downtown isn’t the only area that’s getting a makeover. After the city took a look at the aging infrastructure on the Okanagan Lake western waterfront area, while there was a lot of work to be done, they also saw it as an opportunity, said Rod King, chair of the waterfront revitalization committee.

Rather than performing the needed maintenance and leaving it at that, the city decided to completely redo the area, creating “a more vibrant, engaging, inviting atmosphere for the waterfront, not only for tourists, but I personally believe for our local citizens as well,” said King.

In order to discover what would create this vibrant waterfront atmosphere, project planners have spent the last several weeks doing research and gathering information from the public, said Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations with the City of Penticton.

When it comes to the waterfront, he said a staggering 98 per cent of respondents said they used the area for walking — a number far above any of the other uses. In terms of priorities, Moroziuk said it’s clear that people want a wide, multi-use walkway separated from traffic.

As well, when people listed their priorities in the area, the beach was number one, walking was two, parking was third and the street itself was fourth.

There were other suggestions brought forward by the public as well, such as better washrooms, more trees, vendor areas, along with others.

Now that the surveys have been collected and analyzed and these ideas have come out of them, it’s time to start looking at some actual designs, said Moroziuk.

“The intent now is to take the information we have and develop three options, go back to committee, do some fine tuning, and go to the public,” he said.

Designs will be brought before city council, and hopefully both projects will begin construction following next year’s city budget.