Monday, February 06, 2017

Cost versus lake access

by Kate Bouey - CASTANET Feb 6, 2017 / 4:24 pm
The cost to hire someone and put together an Okanagan Lake access plan has soured some Vernon city councillors. During a meeting Monday, council was told the planning department needed an additional $270,000 to hire a parks planner for a two year term and for detailed drawings of eight public lake access sites to be constructed in 2018. “I can't see paying a quarter million dollars for this,” said Coun. Scott Anderson. “I realize the public wants lake access....I'm not sure it would win top priority.” Both Mayor Akbal Mund and Coun. Brian Quiring said council had given staff too many projects. “Council has put a lot of pressure on you guys, there is no doubt about it,” said Quiring. “We're our own worst enemy when it comes to our wish list.” Councillors Juliette Cunningham, Catherine Lord and Dalvir Nahal pushed for the project to move forward with funding from reserves. “There is a lot of demand. People are looking for lake access,” said Cunningham. “It always seems to be a great idea until it comes time to buck up. The public is demanding it. “For families who don't travel, this is their entertainment.” “If we don't act on it, the same thing will happen that happened before, (the plan) will sit on the shelf,” said Lord. “Let's have some action and actually do something.” However council eventually agreed with Coun. Bob Spiers' suggestion to defer a decision until two public consultation sessions on the proposed lake accesses are held later this month. “Let's get the results of those,” said Spiers, asking to see how many showed up and how many were willing to pay the costs associated with the putting in the access points. The mayor said he was not concerned by the proposed cost but the number of projects staff have “up on the board,” pointing to other priority projects including; Polson Park, Lakeshore Park and the Civic arena. The two public consultation evenings on the draft lake access plan will be held: Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Paddlewheel Hall (7813 Okanagan Landing Road) Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre (3310 37 Avenue)
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