The City of Penticton has approved a plan to install “decorative and secure” gates in the breezeway located in the 200 block of Main Street for added security.
The gates will cost an estimated $20,000 to install. The city will also need to pay to open and close the gates daily, with a estimated cost of $9,000 per year.
The city recently rejuvenated the breezeway with a set of murals done by local artists.
According to city staff, the gates are being installed to reduce “unwanted activity” in the breezeway, such as graffiti, loitering, people congregating and sleeping in the breezeway, panhandling, litter, and drug use.
City council voted unanimously Feb. 16 to approve the gates.
The lighted breezeway connects Main Street to Ellis Street parking lots and serves as an important pathway and interesting downtown design feature.
However, at night, the breezeway also attracts a slew of “unwanted activity,” according to staff’s report to council.
Staff considers fortifying the breezeway with gates that can be closed in the evening and opened in the morning to be the most effective way to reduce this unwanted activity.
The city plans to use decorative materials for the gate that match the recent revitalization works to ensure the gates do not “detract from the downtown experience.”
Having the gates closed in the evening will require anyone parking on Ellis Street while the gates are closed to have to walk to the end of the block to access Main Street, which city staff calls a “minor inconvenience.”
Staff also recognizes that adding gates will likely simply move unwanted activity to other locations.
“The installation of gates on the breezeway will be effective in controlling access during periods when commercial businesses in the downtown are not operating,” reads staff’s report.
“While this will deal with the immediate issues of overnight loitering in the breezeway itself, it will ultimately relocate the issue into other areas of the downtown and possibly the 300 block Main Street breezeway or a higher profile location like the Gyro Bandshell.”