May 23, 2014 - 12:40 PM
PROPERTY OWNERS PROMISE NO CHANGE TO PUBLIC ACCESS
PENTICTON – The Kruger family has leased Airport Beach to the city of Penticton for so long no one seems to remember when the arrangement was first put into place.
The long-term public access is meaningful to the family and the reason they have no plans to make it a private beach even though they have decided not to renew the lease with the city.
Airport Beach is on Skaha Lake south of the airport, east of Wrights Beach Camp and west of the River Channel.
The family’s spokesperson, Travis Kruger, says the city wanted them to sign a long-term lease and it’s something that doesn’t interest them.
“If we lease to the city it’s going to stay the same.” Kruger says. “If we give that exclusive use to the city… it will always be a boat beach. The same thing will happen year after year after year and right now that’s nothing.”
Kruger says his family is thinking about some sort of development for the beach, but they don’t have any solid plans yet. They put the word out to the development community and are waiting for proposals.
“With all the development in Penticton’s south end a better option for us was to look at opportunities outside the status quo of what the city was doing,” he says.
Penticton city council respects the Kruger family’s decision.
“This is in line with the positive steps and initiatives taken recently by the Penticton Indian Band to generate economic activity and opportunities for members,” according to a statement on the city’s website.
The family has already leased a portion of the lakeshore property to the Barefoot Beach Resort, but on the condition the beach remain open to the public.
Kruger says any future development will have the same clause.
“We don’t want to disrupt local people.”
He says there were more people on the beach last year than in the last 15 or 20 years because of the development and activities going on.
“There are people who have lived in Penticton for years who didn’t know there was access underneath the highway,” Kruger says. “But all the activity associated with Barefoot has changed that.”
He promises more of the same positive economic development.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014