Tuesday, March 14, 2017

More public space on lake

By Kate Bouey - CASTANET Mar 14, 2017 / 5:00 am
The City of Vernon is moving forward with an ambitious plan to create more public sites where residents and tourists can access Okanagan Lake. “I'm absolutely adamant that we do it,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham before the vote was taken. “We have a growing population, we have people who don't live close to the lake, we have tourists. It makes us a better community.” Council has directed staff to undertake improvements to two lake access sites in 2017 and eight in 2018. Monday's decision followed two public open houses and an online consultation on a draft lake access plan. “(There was) strong support for the draft lake access plan and a desire to see more than one access improved a year, which was originally proposed,” said Cleo Corbett, the city's long range planner. In addition, design work will begin for a new park on city-owned properties on Lakeshore Road. The extra work means another planner will be hired for a two-year period and $230,000 will be pulled from reserves for the project. However, when asked by Mayor Akbal Mund, staff confirmed there would be no public restrooms created at any of the sites and that the rights of way do not allow for buildings. There will be fencing, similar to small access points in Kelowna, and local plants and grass added to the sites, staff said. “I can't think of a better place for a homeless camp,” remarked Coun. Scott Anderson. “What measures are we taking to protect homeowners?” Staff said the access sites would create a better environment for people who would use them more frequently.

 City plans to activate access to Okanagan Lake News Release

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