Having attended the public presentation on the proposed new Okanagan lakeshore walkway, I am somewhat disappointed with what will become a permanent fixture on that beach for many years to come. It is proposed that the walkway will have a smooth concrete finished retaining wall up to the level of Lakeshore Drive. This will be approximately four feet high for most the length of the walkway. The reason may be for keeping the costs down.
But there is a saying in construction: if you’re going to build it, “do it right the first time.” By that I mean the wall on the beach side should have some kind of decorative finish to it, decorative sand-coloured blocks for instance. Block walls can also be curved to allow for flower gardens and alcoves for wind protection while sitting on the beach. Yes, having been in the construction industry most of my working life, concrete-filled blocks can retain dirt just as good as concrete, plus the walkway on top will help to retain and strengthen the wall.
Reason for this suggestion? It will be more pleasing to look at while on the beach than a plain solid concrete wall, which undoubtedly once completed will be subjected to and a very welcome sight to the graffiti artists with their spray cans.
The most important argument to oppose this unsightly concrete design on the longest part of the walkway is that council, under its own bylaws, has the authority to tell a private developer what finish they must have on the exterior of their buildings to make it more pleasing to the overall appearance of the community structures. Practice what you preach are the operative words here.
I suggest if you don’t understand my suggested change to the plain concrete, take a look at the wall on the north side of the Cherry Lane mall (Warren Avenue), and you will see a decorative block sand-coloured wall, which has not been subjected to graffiti and is more pleasing to street view than a plain concrete wall.
The other concern I have is the proposed elevated section up to the Peach concession. There will be an opening underneath about five to six feet high when constructed. I would suggest that the underneath should be covered with rocks to prevent the regular summertime beach activities from taking place under there, which no doubt become a constant headache for the RCMP to enforce some control over those out-of-sight activities.
I believe council should take another look at what’s being proposed and visualize what the finished project will look like. If it needs more funds to make it more pleasing to the overall appearance of the beach then take some more money out of reserves. If you agree with me, then take the time to phone the council members and ask them to take another look before we a mile-long concrete wall along this treasured beach.