After the protest rally on Lakeshore Drive last Wednesday evening, Penticton city council and the waterfront revitalization committee have seen that there is significant opposition to some of the possible changes to Okanagan Lake beach.
The protestors were showing their opposition to two key elements of the plans, switching the current angle parking for parallel and changing two-way traffic to one-way along portions of the Okanagan Lake beach drive.
The question remains, though, how to accommodate the desired walking path along the beach and promenade that the narrowing of the roadway was intended to allow.
“We had to do a lot of juggling,” said Rod King, chair of the waterfront committee, describing the work they did to accommodate what they were told the public desired: room for walking and cycling, maximizing the beach and green spaces along with lots of trees and picnic tables.
But the protest shows there is a significant population who also want to just cruise the beach, something that was left out of the two options the committee recently presented, trying to gather more public input.
Well, they got it. Protest rallies are one way to send a message, but we have to wonder where the protestors were during the committee’s original public input sessions earlier this year, or even the three public sessions two weeks ago when the proposals were introduced. The job they are trying to do, coming up with a plan that accommodates a myriad of desires as well as fixing the serious deficiencies of the west Okanagan beach area is not a simple one.
But rather than the angry response of more protests, we hope that people will now come forward to help the committee in their work by giving them input before they have to produce their next proposal, not after.