Penticton’s plan to fix an “awkward intersection” could have a negative impact on providing food security for those in need, according to the Salvation Army.
The non-profit organization fears the city’s plan to permanently close a portion of Kinney Avenue, between South Main Street and Skaha Lake Road, will limit easy access at its location for food bank and thrift shop donations.
Approved by council in 2019, “Point Intersection Construction” plans for major changes around the road, improving safety while making way for future bike lane construction on the Kinney Avenue link to South Main Street.
The plan would permanently close the portion of Kinney, adjacent to the city’s Salvation Army branch.
“We depend entirely on donations at our thrift store and the complete closure of Kinney could eliminate a lot of that by making southbound traffic inaccessible,” wrote Penticton’s Salvation Army in a letter to council. “People will come for food at the food bank, but we do depend on donations, and have to make it as easy as possible for our donors to access the food bank.”
The intersection in its current state has previously been described by the city staff as “awkward.”
While council will once again be prompted to move forward with the proposed plan during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16, those at the Salvation Army are asking for a compromise to maintain easy access for donors and customers of the building alike.
“We are requesting that other solutions be investigated as we feel that the current proposal is totally unfair,” wrote George Stayberg, the property owner. “We have tried to set up a meeting with someone at the city since this proposal became public but had no success.”
The Salvation Army in Penticton says the need for food has increased by 35 to 40 per cent during the summer months, citing inflation and a shortage of volunteers as among the primary factors.
“The complete closure of Kinney could put this at risk even further,” they added. “We humbly ask that council reconsider this decision. At the very least, provide one-way eastbound access on Kinney from Main Street to South Main Street.
“This would allow southbound traffic to continue access to the food bank and thrift shop.”
Council is currently scheduled to vote on this near the end of its Aug. 16 meeting. If approved, a 50-metre stretch along Kinney would be permanently eliminated.