I am writing to give my perspective and opinions on the proposed lakeshore improvements. I will keep my comments brief.
I have lived most of my life in Penticton and have many fond memories of Okanagan Lake beach and Lakeshore Drive. I have reviewed the two proposed options for the redevelopment of Lakeshore Drive and I have filled out the online survey (which did not provide much space for comments). Unfortunately my busy schedule has prevented me from attending the public meetings.
I feel it would be a mistake to remove the angle parking. This provides the most parking with the closest access to the beach. If you go to parallel parking and have parking elsewhere to compensate for the loss of parking spaces, it will be much more difficult and inconvenient for families to get all their gear to the beach. I have eaten many lunches sitting in my car, at all times of the year, to enjoy the view. It is a very relaxing and calming panorama looking out over the lake and mountains. If you change to parallel parking this will not be as comfortable or convenient. In reference to the safety aspect, both types of parking involve backing up, and the safety has to do more with the driver than the type of parking, especially on Lakeshore where the speed limit is only 30 km/h.
I think the one-way proposal is foolish. Part of the enjoyment of the area is the ability to “cruise” Lakeshore Drive and go back and forth. Also in the downtown area people are displeased with the one-way streets and it is being considered to restore two-way traffic to Main Street, so why would anyone want to put a one-way street here?
I understand that parts of Lakeshore and the walkways need to be improved and upgraded/refurbished, but to make major changes to the design and layout of a very unique and beautiful area of Penticton just for the sake of change, or to compete or compare to other areas of the world is folly. Make the improvements but keep the design and layout as close as possible to what is there now. It is world famous as it is.
My final comment has to do with the estimated $7 million price tag for the proposed options. In this time of fiscal restraint I feel that the needed improvements could be done for a much smaller cost. Do the walkways really need to be widened? Some of the proposed structures (eg. the plazas) are for esthetics and serve no real purpose. As I stated earlier, the view from Lakeshore Drive is beautiful as it is, do we really need to spend money building structures that will interfere with the view, as has already been done in other areas?