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Residents can now view the results of the engagement activities conducted in December to gather ideas for the creation of a long-term plan for the east portion of Skaha Lake Park. The future of the east end of Skaha Lake Park, including what to do about the marina and other aging facilities, was discussed as part of two open houses held in early December, as well as online through the City’s shapeyourcitypenticton.ca website.
“We were very impressed with the quality of the input we received,” says Special Projects Manager Ben Johnson. “Participants clearly took the time to provide detailed and thoughtful comments that will be very helpful in shaping the plan for this area.”
Over 400 people attended the open houses and 240 completed the feedback forms. Some of the themes from the engagement activities include:
- The most beloved feature of the park is the green space and natural environment. Participants also love the beach and lake, the walking paths, the family setting, the dragon boating and outrigger canoeing, and the play area and splash park.
- For many participants, the park is perfect in its current state. They are supportive of the amenities and activities that are currently in the park and would like to see them continue. There is also interest in seeing improvements to the dragon boat and canoeing facilities, the safety of the lake through separation of motorized and non-motorized vehicles, and the availability of restaurant and food services.
Participants in the engagement activities were also invited to share their feedback on some of the ideas being considered to address the needs and opportunities in this section of the park, including several that were put forward by resident Peter Osborne on behalf of local parks groups. With the exception of reducing or reconfiguring parking to increase greenspace, all of the ideas received were well supported. In order of support from largest to small, the ideas include:
- Continue to offer beach vending (i.e. concessions)* (82.3% support)
- Renew the splash pad / spray park* (75.6% support)
- Rebuild a boat house for dragon boats / outrigger canoes* (74.2% support)
- Continue to have a café associated with the marina* (74% support)
- Continue to offer a marina with boat rentals, moorage and fuel sales* (67.1% support)
- Add a “green” pedestrian connection along the waterfront* (55.7% support)
- Expand food/drink offerings at the marina (i.e. restaurant / pub) (53.4% support)
- Add a 150’ wharf to separate motorized / and non-motorized watercraft* (50.4% support)
- Reconfigure or reduce parking to increase greenspace* (27.1% support)
Some of the new ideas that surfaced through the engagement process include interest in:
- A dog park or dog beach
- More community events
- Cycling infrastructure (i.e. secure storage and water bottle stations)
- Outdoor ice rink
- Environmental and cultural interpretive centre
Staff are now analyzing the results and working on concepts to review with residents in the next phase of engagement. The complete results are available at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca and are on display at the City’s new engagement kiosks located at the Community Centre, City Hall and the Museum / Library lobby. The results will also be reviewed with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee at their next meeting on Feb. 3.
“I was pleased to hear there was such a good turnout to discuss this important topic,” says Mayor John Vassilaki. “Council is looking forward to hearing what people have to say and seeing how this work evolves.” Residents are encouraged to register with shapeyourcitypenticton.ca to stay informed.
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At its upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting, scheduled for November 19, Penticton City Council will receive a presentation from staff outlining the planning and public engagement process to create a plan for the east portion of Skaha Park.
“When looking at the entire park, City staff and several key stakeholders now hold the common view that any long-term planning for Skaha Park should focus on the east side,” said Acting Director of Development Services, Ben Johnson. “Much of the park is functioning well and is in good condition, however there are challenges and opportunities to explore in this part of the park, including the need for a long-term vision for the marina, aging facilities like the spray park and boat house, a desire to improve walking connections between areas of the park, and beach erosion concerns.”
Planning for the park’s future will build on directions in the 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and will be informed through a public engagement process. This process will involve stakeholders and the community in the development of a vision and plan, gather their views on commercial uses like the marina, and create an opportunity for residents to be involved in identifying priorities for the east part of the park. Ideas from a recent citizen-led park design process will also be incorporated into the engagement and planning for the park.
“We’re pleased that the City has narrowed the focus of the plan to address the pressing needs of this unique east section of the park and are delighted that the concept that we have created through many discussions with stakeholders and residents is going to be integrated into their work,” says Peter Osborne, a Penticton resident who led the development of a concept for the park.
“Council is looking forward to receiving the presentation staff have prepared outlining the process by which a much needed plan for the east side of Skaha Park will be created with the public’s involvement,” said Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki.