Summerland residents push for upgrades, environmental protection in future of waterfront areas

 

NEXT STEPS FOR WATERFRONT

The importance of keeping lakeshore areas and beaches well maintained to the Summerland community is expressed well in the feedback for the Waterfront Concept Plan, which will be presented to district council on Tuesday.

The feedback was collected in March ahead of developing a Waterfront Concept Plan by consultants from Lees & Associates, which included input sessions with Council, the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, environmental resources, youth, service clubs, park user groups, community organizations, neighbours, and local businesses.

This includes Peach Orchard Beach, Rotary Beach Park and Horse Beach.

The plan will follow aims set by council focusing on design and services promoting inclusivity and promotion of physical activity for healthy lifestyles.

It will set the future course of stewardship for park land, beaches, amenities, swimming and water activities and infrastructure in the areas of Peach Orchard Beach to Rotary Beach Park.

Initial feedback from the reports suggest that residents are passionate about maintaining opportunities for horses and dogs to enjoy the beaches and water is important.

Out of the online survey, which included 480 responses the public, residents want to see:

  • Improved swimmer safety, including reduced conflict between water recreation users (boaters, swimmers, etc)
  • Universal accessibility improvements, especially to the water, washrooms, and seating areas
  • Environment and sustainability included, protecting the waterfront environment
  • Parking is a challenge, but keeping park space is more important and improved bike infrastructure is needed.
  • A desire for more canopy trees and native planting

In the overall feedback from the survey, improving amenities and the landscape, improve trails for walking and biking, and enhancing the environment were prominent.

Respondents also want to see the washrooms made to be fully accessible with year round use and a Family wash and change rooms included.

On Rotary Beach, respondents want to see improvements made to:

  • Shelter from the sun (51%)
  • More trees (45%)
  • Fire pits (38%)
  • Amenities for food trucks (36%)
  • Larger open water swim area (30%)

On Peach Orchard Park, respondents want to see improvements made to:

  • Expand/ improve beach (52%)
  • More trees + habitat (39%)
  • Amenities for food trucks (31%)
  • Shelter from the sun (29%)
  • Accessibility at the Dog Beach (28%)

On Horse Beach, respondents want to see:

  • Keep it as it is – keep it natural and quiet, as a local’s beach (58 open ended responses)
  • Ensure horse access (52 responses)
  • Improve parking especially for trailers (27 responses)

Heading forward, the key improvements suggested are to include: A continuous bike path that provides cycling infrastructure, sufficient accessible parking, set up life saving equipment, add riparian planting and use nature-based solutions to protect and restore the shoreline, plant additional trees in the parks and along the Centennial Trail and clarify and communicate animal regulations.

The consultants are planning for an in-person public open House on June 16, 2022, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 pm, with a presentation at 5:30 pm, at the Arena Banquet Room to display draft concept plans and collect community input.

A second public survey will be issued and available from June 6 – 26, 2022, to gain further input from the public.

The consultants are targeting the beginning of August to have the Waterfront Concept Plan completed and will return to Council on August 22, 2022, to present the final Plan.

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