Keep lakeshore the way it is

Penticton should spend the $1.2 million on the needed improvements and keep Lakeshore Drive as it is

The town hall meeting regarding changes to the city’s lakeshore saw speakers for and against the four options on how Lakeshore Drive should look. The city has $1.2 million in gas revenues to spend on environmental projects. For the cyclist, it is about cycling paths; for the architect, it is a vision of spending over $7 million on a concept of shelters and plazas and boardwalks; and for the rest of us, it is leave it alone and fix what needs to be fixed and improve within the budget. This isn’t New York’s Brighton Beach or Sydney Australia’s Bondi Beach but it is Lakeshore Drive located on a street, located on a lake, and in a city that the majority of residents feel is a wonderful place to live.

Former mayor Jake Kimberly enlightened the crowd with facts. A survey was done in the ‘90s. A one-way street then showed it would create problems for both Lakeshore and Churchill. He also said the survey proved that parallel parking was a safety hazard. Did anyone on the committee know this before they conducted another survey? He also informed the crowd that you can’t just go plan a marina near the SS Sicamous. When it comes to waterways, and disruption of such, it becomes a federal issue. So it was good that he spoke and enlightened us on some facts.

A young lady, Monica Hoffman, gave a very moving statement about being able to go to Lakeshore to enjoy what we have for free and not worry about parking meters and walking blocks to the beach due to lack of parking. She called what the city and its committee wants a “millionaire’s dream.” Exactly, this city has many residents struggling on minimum and casual work basis. It doesn’t have the industry it needs to sustain such a concept of a $7 million project.

Option 3 saw an improvement to the zigzag walkway near the Peach and fixing what’s broken and maintaining the strip. Option 4 has a boardwalk over the water. Sounds like a good place, but someone will jump off that boardwalk into the shallow water and there goes a lawsuit. We all know it will happen, look at the signs at the other end of town at the channel. Signs say don’t jump … so they jump.

Option 3 is the best choice for Lakeshore maintaining angle parking. But removal of the mounds, “the grassy knolls” needs to be added to Option 3. It was our understanding it was included in Option 3 but was only in the Option 4 concept. Remove them and turn that green space into a nice picnic area. Memorial picnic tables like the ones at Skaha Park would cover the cost as these are donations. This removal of the mounds was to be a part of Option 3.

With motorhomes and oversized vehicles a continuing problem with traffic flow and pedestrian safety, a designated area for oversized vehicles to park should be also implemented. Signs all along the strip would inform these oversized vehicles there is a designated area for them to park.

The meeting has taken place, the letters have bombarded the papers, now it’s up to our city council to make the right choice, spend the $1.2 million on the needed improvements and keep Lakeshore Drive as it is. Consider it a step in the right direction. Focus on building the economy of the city. Promote industry. Creating a vision plan is a great idea but it doesn’t pay the bills. The tourists already love to come to where we are so lucky to live. I know it, I spend my summer evenings on Lakeshore Drive.

Lou Sloboda