I just got back from the council meeting on Lakeshore Drive and was happy they will offer two more options. I was actually hoping they would shelve the whole project, but if enough people vote for Option 3 to repair the retaining wall and path and basically leave the beach alone as is, then we the people of Penticton have accomplished our mission to save Lakeshore Drive.
They say it was just information input, but when I asked the Revitalization Committee if there was the option to leave it as is, I was told there is no other option, just Option 1 and 2. This is when I knew it was time for a rally. I know they will try hard to sell Options 1 and 2 as they did when they tried to convince the public on the prison. I believe with Option 3 approved, the city could then concentrate on paying off debts, like the contractors of the hockey dorm disaster like Grizzly Excavating who is still owed more than $400,000, paying off debt from the events centre and revitalize downtown instead.
I was told from a director of the revitalization project that he was down at the beach several times a day and could always find parking without difficulty, therefore we could sacrifice some angle parking, yet I beg to differ. With the weather off to a slow start, tourism numbers were below average this summer, but as I go to Lakeshore almost every day in the summer, there has been lots of times I had to re-run the beach just to find parking. If there is anyone else out there who agrees the beach parking gets full, let City Hall know as they don’t believe me.
The west Okanagan beach and Lakeshore Drive is the best in western Canada … the way it is. People flock to Okanagan Beach because it is clear of obstructions with angle parking that you can access/see your car from the beach. They say the beach is most important, yet with Options 1 and 2 they want to sod some areas, add volleyball courts (we have Skaha beach for that), add shelters to block the view, add a fitness area, large intersection plazas, take away the fire pits and possibly add pay parking to further drive tourism away. Parallel parking would eliminate most seniors and tourists/residents that cannot parallel park.
As far as safety with angle verses parallel, there are far more chances of accidents with parallel parking. To solve any issues with angle parking and provide more parking spaces, could the city not make an off-beach free-parking area for RVs and oversized trucks?
They say the pathway (that has worked for decades) is too narrow and too congested — try Toronto streets or New York. That is congested. There may be just a few trees that narrow the path, but mostly every light standard is one-third into the path. Move them to the beach edge of the path and problems solved.
As for the trees, ones that are too old or unsafe, a planting program should be instilled where the subject tree is phased out years after the planted tree is big enough to provide shade to replace it.
Fix the retaining wall, fix the path and call it a day. Vote for Option 3 and use the much-needed money to pay the city debt and revitalize the downtown — the heart of every city. Thanks to Andy Brown, Tony and Lou Sloboda and everyone that supported saving Lakeshore Drive and tourism.