Summerland residents asked for feedback on downtown future plan



Summerland residents are now encouraged to give their feedback on the new Downtown Neighbourhood Action Plan.

A draft plan establishing a roadmap for future actions and projects over the next 20 years is now available, 53 actions that have been prioritized into the short, medium, and long term.

The broad scope of actions include preliminary costing, land use and density, infrastructure enhancements, parks and open space planning and amenities, policy and bylaw regulation review and development of financial incentives.

The plan also includes the Memorial Park Master Plan which is a detailed future concept plan for the park with key amenity improvements like a new bandshell facility and civic plaza area and a focus on enhancing winter activities such as a kids toboggan hill and ice skating in the civic plaza area.

Other identified projects include:

  • Permanent closure of Henry Avenue to vehicle traffic between Main Street and Wharton Street to create a pedestrian-friendly entryway into Memorial Park
  • Revitalization of Wharton and Main Street, including a review of the streetscape, to potentially accommodate wider sidewalks and enhanced amenities like sidewalk patios
  • “Trail of the Okanagans” multi-use pathway connection extended through Downtown via Kelly Avenue and Wharton Street
  • Actions to encourage momentum for private development in the Downtown core

The community is now being asked to review the draft online here, then complete an online survey here.

“We want to hear your thoughts and feedback on the proposed vision for your downtown!” reads a news release from the District Monday.

The public survey will be available until Monday, July 11, 2022.

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



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.

Summerland getting state-of-the-art playground for kids of all abilities


State-of-the-art playtime

The vision is for a “destination playground,” designed by Playspace Adventure Ltd. to “promote imaginative and exciting play experiences for children aged 2-12,” according to a news release from the District of Summerland.

Elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) will be incorporated in the space through sensory panels, kinetic flags, a problem-solving puzzle, technology through kid-powered and solar-powered energy, and more.

A one-of-a-kind slide known as “The Mighty Descent” lets kids slide alongside friends, and there are structures for kids of all abilities.

Some of the facilities were added thanks to $5,000 donations from the Summerland Kinsmen Club, Kinsmen Foundation and Summerland Firefighters’ Association.

“This new playground project aligns with council’s Active Lifestyles Strategic Priority — ensuring community design and services that enhance inclusive, barrier-free participation and promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles,” said Mayor Toni Boot.

“This is a good start to the efforts underway on the redesign of Memorial Park and the broader work of the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. Both initiatives fit within council’s Downtown Vibrancy Strategic Priority.”

Additional volunteers are welcome to participate at the volunteer day in May (date still to be determined) to assist with placing the engineered wood fibre surfacing. Email or phone 250-494-0447 to join the volunteer list.

Summerland seeking feedback on Eco-Village vision


Eco-Village vision feedback

The District of Summerland is seeking community feedback on a Draft Eco-Village Concept Plan.

The idea is for a low-impact, environmentally sensitive residential development in the vicinity of the District’s planned solar energy facility. Design includes connection to naturalized trails and transportation links to the downtown area.

An online public survey to collect feedback on the Draft Eco-Village Concept Plan is now open until March 28.

Find the draft plan for the Eco-Village here. Complete your survey and find project updates here.

The plan has been developed through engagement with adjacent landowners, recreational trail group stakeholders, the Penticton Indian Band, and through technical assessments on environmentally-sensitive habitat, geotechnical constraints, and significant cultural and heritage values, according to the District.

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E-bus joins school bus fleet in School District 67


First school e-bus arrives

School District 67 has added its first ever electronic school bus to its fleet, part of a longer-term plan to transition completely away from diesel-powered vehicles.

“The bus will be at our Summerland Yard. We are working with Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement to finalize the permit as a school bus, and have a charging station built,” said Doug Gorcak, Director of Facilities for School District No. 67.

“We anticipate it will be on the road doing a Summerland school route beginning next week.

The bus cost $363,216, but the school district only needed to pay $31,366 due to the Ministry of Education and Clean Energy B.C. kicking in some funding.

At full charge, the bus can cover approximately 220 kilometres and regenerates power while driving.

Heaven’s Gate Winery.

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Summerland and Osoyoos residents asking for more pickleball courts in their communities

More pickleball courts

Both the District of Summerland and Osoyoos Town council will be reviewing requests from residents in their upcoming meetings asking for more pickleball courts.

As Summerland council reviews the 2021-2025 financial plan bylaw on Monday, they will be receiving 24 written submissions, with 22 of those submissions supporting Council’s commitment to add pickleball courts at Peach Orchard Campground in 2021.

Many members of the Summerland Pickleball Club sent in letters explaining the importance of the upgrades for the community.

“Please support the resurfacing/court expansion at Peach Orchard. This very cost-effective expansion will allow the Summerland Pickleball Club to offer more Fundraising Tournaments, Programs and Drop-in play to not only Club members but every Pickleball player in the community,” a letter from one resident reads.

“Mayor and Council, Please make 2021 a priority for the health and wellness of a large group of seniors in Summerland. For many, pickleball is their social connection, where they meet friends, where they get exercise and have enjoyment,” adds another.

“As we age we still need somewhere to keep fit and socialize. With only two courts in Summerland playing time is limited. To add 4 more courts would be a big help. With a total of 6 courts, that would allow us to put on tournaments, which would also bring tourists and competitors to Summerland increasing the economy,” reads another email of full support.

For the Osoyoos players, a delegation from the Osoyoos Pickleball Association will be speaking at Tuesday’s meeting on their plan to build a dedicated Indoor Pickleball Facility.

“This is an exciting development and we will be over the top if our three asks of the Town Council are positively affirmed. The two buildings will be built in a more timely manner if Town Councillors decide to support/champion our proposal,” the letter to council reads.

The group added that will also attempt to create opportunities for all who desire to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony in person or virtually if the building is completed.

“The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce has been sending us links to grants that are outside the usual sources. Businesses are attempting to assist in an economic recovery. We will apply for any/all applicable grants as they become available. Two grants have been applied for to date,” it reads, adding that more will be applied for shortly.

A short presentation with a slide show, building concept animation and projected costs and benefits will be made to the Osoyoos town council on Tuesday.

Summerland affordable housing project heading to council, with information session in meantime

Housing project scrutiny

A new affordable housing complex will face Summerland council scrutiny later this month.

The proposed development, located at the former Summerland RCMP detachment site at 8709 Jubilee Rd. E, will need council approval for bylaw rezoning.

Concerns from neighbours have popped up wondering whether the project, which would be run by Turning Points Collaborative Society, will be supportive housing versus affordable housing. Supportive housing includes support services for those suffering from mental health or addictions crises.

Summerland director of development services Brad Dollevoet said that isn’t the case.

“It isn’t a homeless shelter or anything like that,” Dollevoet said. “It’s homes for families and things like that. They’re targeted to families, people with handicapped accessibility issues as well as seniors in need of income support.”

He said the development includes “spaces for women and children leaving family homes as well,” and
30 per cent of the units are required to have handicapped accessibility.

It is not Dollevoet’s understanding that support services for those experiencing addiction will be part of the housing project, nor will that be the demographic the complex is seeking to attract.

“This form of housing is something we want to encourage in the District,” Dollevoet said.

“Targeted to renting, targeted to low-income families … This proposed project addresses a number of goals in the District planning framework.”

There is a public hearing tentatively scheduled for March 22, should council move forward with first and second reading at the upcoming Feb. 22 meeting.

If that moves forward, the District will send letters to nearby residents letting them know about the planned public hearing.

But in the meantime, residents can learn more via the information meeting, which is being run by the developer.
Interested residents can pre-register here for the information meeting, happening on Feb. 18. at 6:30 p.m.

Summerland urged to take swing at indoor tennis

Indoor tennis
Kids swinging their raquets at the UBC Tennis Club in 2019. An effort is underway to build indoor tennis courts in Summerland.

Penticton’s loss could be Summerland’s gain.

As the City of Penticton continues dragging its heels on a request to make good on a 14-year-old promise to build new indoor tennis courts, the District of Summerland has an opportunity to corner the market, council was told at its meeting Monday.

“There’s no indoor tennis anywhere in the South Okanagan. There are facilities in Kelowna, there’s a facility in Vernon, there’s a facility in Kamloops, but there’s nothing (in Summerland) and to the south of us,” said Bill Everitt, past-president of Summerland’s Lakeshore Raquets Club

“For Summerland to host the only indoor tennis facility in the South Okanagan, we think, would be a big boost for our town, bringing tennis players from around the valley to stay and play with the economic benefits that follow.”

Everitt suggested indoor tennis courts could be incorporated in the proposed Summerland health and recreation centre, which is under discussion now. Including indoor tennis courts as part of a larger facility would reduce capital costs, he said, while making the community more attractive to families and retirees.

“We have, essentially, a two- or three-month playing time (outdoors) with shoulder seasons on the front and back end. Trying to develop any kinds of programs with kids, with schools, is very limited,” added Everitt.

He submitted to council letters of support from every tennis club in the region, along with information from Tennis Canada that claims it’s the third-most-popular sport among new Canadians.

Coun. Doug Holmes suggested tennis courts will be as important to future generations of Canadians as swimming pools and arenas were to previous generations.

“If you think of the sports that are available here, they’re not really the sports that are of interest to a diverse population,” said Holmes.

“If we’re talking about tackling systemic racism and institutional bias, we have to look at all the services and facilities that we operate, we have to look at ourselves, and is there a way to address that through what we provide our people.”

Summerland’s recreation manager, Lori Mullen, said consultants hired to design the new health and recreation centre have already heard the tennis presentation and are considering courts as part of a larger, multi-purpose facility.

As envisioned, the new health and creation centre would replace Summerland’s failing aquatic centre and the undersized gym at Summerland Secondary School, plus include space for a new primary clinic and other health professionals.

The partners in the project are School District 67, District of Summerland, Interior Health and South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice.

Funding has not yet been lined up for the centre, except for $10 million committed by SD 67 to replace the school gym.

Penticton city council in February voted to turn down a request for a new tennis bubble while a broader review of municipally owned assets is underway. The last such bubble was torn down in 2007 to make way for the South Okanagan Events Centre. City council of the day pledged to rebuild it elsewhere, but that never happened.