I would like to thank the city and revitalization committee for putting on the town hall meeting and showing the additional options 3 and 4.
The post-it notes allowed for public input for pros and cons, although it appeared the sales pitch was more for option 1 and 2. The speeches on the other hand definitely favoured option 3.
I would like to thank the lady who had a show of hands for what option people wanted. It appeared almost 70 per cent favoured Option 3 , 20 per cent for Option 4 and about five per cent each for option 1 and 2. I had to cut my own speech short — it appears stage fright got the best of me, or it could have been being trashed by the speaker before me who obviously knew zero about tourism or the negative impact of option 1 and 2 .
Also, was the surfer dude who put down Lakeshore Drive and beach attempting to compare it to his favourite saltwater surfer beaches. In case he never noticed, Penticton is not on the ocean. West Okanagan beach and Lakeshore Drive are the most unique freshwater beach and street in Canada. Where else do you have a desert mountain setting, almost guaranteed warm sunny skies in the summer and the luxury of being able to free angle park right in front of where you sunbathe, giving you the security and easy access to you car?
Lakeshore Drive allows you to cruise the strip and the vintage cars add to that magic. Often in the evening when the vintage cars park, tourists ask if there is a car show in town. They take pictures, ask questions and are always welcome. Cars old and new are a part of the what make this unique. This beach is free of obstructions blocking the view.
In a world of eco-tourism, how is putting man-made obstructions on the beach a natural setting? This is the family beach of Penticton and is also where most locals and seniors go because of easy access and maximum beach parking. Who wants to park blocks away out of site and access of your car? No one. The cyclists seem big on having more access on the beach. The biggest problem is child and senior safety.
Children and seniors coming from their cars focused on the beach could be run into by cyclists passing by at a much higher speed than pedestrians. I have personally seen at Skaha, bicycles blasting down the path at full speed putting pedestrians in danger. You cannot enforce a speed limit for this.
They took out car access at Skaha beach for cyclists to use, and this is where I take my family to cycle. In the off-season, Lakeshore Drive is plenty safe for bike use nine months of the year. I believe making Lakeshore a cyclist beach would risk child/senior safety.
We have Skaha beach for cyclists, while Lakeshore has always been the car/family beach. Why would we risk the change? Will there be any guilt or remorse when a child or senior is struck by a bike knowing it is because of their drive to change the most unique street/beach in Canada?
There are times when change is good, there are times when change is devastating. Foresight is what makes the correct choice.
We have two very distinct and different beaches, one catering to cyclists and walkers, the other catering to walkers and cars. Why are we trying to make them both the same?