There is a third option for waterfront

Two options being proposed by city for Okanagan Lake waterfront are not acceptable

The reporting of the recent Penticton council meeting indicated that the Lakeshore Drive redevelopment report to council provided only two options. This was confirmed by Coun. Litke, who stated that Lakeshore Drive is going to have “parallel” parking as shown in Option 1 or 2. It appears that the decision has been made and there is no further debate on the issue. There is a third option.

Angle parking allows for approximately one-third more parking than parallel parking on the beachfront. Parallel parking will result in traffic tie-ups during the tourist season, as people will have to stop then back into a parking space. Cars behind them with have to wait until the “jockeying” is completed.

The loss of parking spaces on Lakeshore Drive will result in two sections of Lakawanna Park to be turned into Parking lots. A loss of green space which is now used by tourists and residents alike.

Safety concerns: With parallel parking there will be a risk of passengers exiting the car into passing traffic. Young children in a hurry to get to the beach may open the door and jump out into the path of a car.

Cost: A $7 million price tag to “upgrade” Lakeshore Drive is outrageous.

The above four faults make Options 1 and 2 unacceptable.

Three positives for maintaining the current road system: Convenience for the resident and tourist to have direct access to Okanagan Beach; safety of children exiting the car; green space at Lakawanna Park should not be used for a parking lot.

Kiwanis Walkway is getting old and tired, but it is not dead yet. With a proper maintenance plan it can continue to serve the community. It is nine feet wide, ample to have people pass each other on their walk. For eight weeks in the summer there are times when it gets busy, mostly from people moving from their cars to the beach. With an additional six feet and raising the Kiwanis Walkway to street level, the city incurs a major expense under the guise of allowing walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, all to enjoy the walkway together. Such a scheme will result in conflict. Wheelchairs could use the walkway now if it was properly maintained. Cyclists can use the roadway; Skateboarders now use the south sidewalk to get to the skate park on Riverside Drive.

Options 1 and 2, while attractive in their design are not practical and are outrageous in their cost. I’m sure the taxpayers of Penticton will feel the financial impact if either of these options proceed.

Option 3: Maintain the two-way traffic flows on Lakeshore Drive, while it is busy during the height of tourist season it handles the traffic and allows for motorists to turn around at Riverside Drive, exit via Churchill, Dynes, Burnaby Ave, or continue on to Highway 97.

Maintain Kiwanis Walkway, make necessary improvements, and provide an annual budget to ensure the walkway is kept clean and bricks are reseated when necessary. The only complaint I’ve heard from visitors is that the walkway is sandy and dirty. Daily cleaning of the walkway should take place in July and August.

Rebuild the wall between the walkway and Lakeshore Drive. There are places where the curb is only two inches high, resulting in several cars a year dropping their wheel over the wall.

Institute a tree planting program (a) replacing diseased and dead trees (b) provide new shade trees adjacent to the walkway.

The budget for Option 3 would be far less than the $7 million proposed in Option 1 or 2.

If you feel as I do phone, e-mail, or visit mayor and city councillors, and tell them the we, the taxpayers and voters, are not in favor of a $7 million project. Fire the consultants, have staff develop Option 3, and get on with managing the city.

Time is running out, the council is of the opinion that the majority of people who have seen the consultant’s presentation support Opinion 1 or 2. It’s time they heard from the silent majority… the residents and taxpayers of Penticton.

Vote for Option 3.

Jim Hewitt