The situation for Penticton beach-goers and swimmers continues to go to the dogs — somewhat literally.
Until recently, swimmers could enjoy the Okanagan Lake Park beach and waters between the casino and Penticton Creek. Approximately three quarters of the beach was available for swimming, with the remainder set aside as an official dog beach.
Now, the entire swimming area has been redesignated as a “Boating Area” and for “Day Moorage”, according to signs erected in the last couple of weeks. More signage also indicates, incredibly, that human swimmers are now relegated solely to the dog beach. I am not making this up. Incredulous readers can verify it for themselves by inspecting the signs on the beach in Okanagan Lake Park.
As with the similar reclassification of the waters surrounding the SS Sicamous described in my previous letter (Western News, Aug. 3), this is an encroachment of motorized boat traffic on an area previously available for swimming. It sets an extremely bad precedent. It is also an incongruous use of an important recreation area for Penticton, a hub for triathlon competition and training, as well as casual outdoor swimming. It beggars belief that this area is needed for boat usage given that it is situated between the Hooded Merganser marina and the Penticton Yacht Club.
Thus far, my correspondence with Penticton city council has gone unacknowledged. Therefore I would urge all interested swimmers and beach-goers to help bring this to the attention of the mayor and city councillors.