June 28, 2013 - 10:34 AM
More traffic, be it on wheels or by foot, is what city planners think will create a safer park space for Kelowna residents. After an online forum for public input closed last April, the City unveiled it's first park re-design concept.
Rather than cutting through large spaces of grass, new roadways, cycling routes and pedestrian pathways would get more people into the park with more ease.
Patrick McCormick says the park should be more accessible to cars, bikes and pedestrians.
“The real key changes from what we've got existing is a more elaborate circulation system,” he says. This includes a larger network of pathways, bike routes as well as a looped roadway.
“We've added what I call a scenic drive through the park,” he says and that will come with some extra parking spaces.
Project Manager McCormick says the goal is to get more people into the park.
“One of the issues here is safety, getting more eyes and ears into the park and it also allows people to get closer to the facilities,” he says.
Conceptual drawings divide the park into five specific areas: the sports field area, the Abbott Street corridor, a performance and activity area, the beach zone and fun zone.
The fun zone would include a bigger water park and two distinct play areas.
“They're separated now so we'll have tots and toddlers in one playground, the older kids would have the other playground,” McCormick says, and it will also feature a short boardwalk and pier with vendors and a diving tower.
The skate park would be moved into the activity area with the tennis and basketball courts. This would be the 'heart' of activity, in the effort to get more people using the middle of the park.
“All the activity right now tends to be around the outside and nobody wants to go through the middle...nothing is happening there unless it's an event weekend,” McCormick says.
“By getting more stuff happening there we feel it will be safer.”
Along the Abbott Street corridor the city wants to see more retail and also a new park pavilion to replace the one that burned down in 2011. It could also be the new administrative headquarters for Tourism Kelowna.
There is still no estimate on the total cost of the City Park re-design, which also includes the cost of renovating Kerry park. The city wants to upgrade the Sails Plaza so it's continuous with the Bernard Avenue streetscape, create a new stage area and possibly add a waterfront restaurant.
Thus far the city has spent $185,000 on the designs alone as well as $800,000 for a public washroom and changeroom facility by the children's water park.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013