July 16, 2013 - 2:11 PM
VERNON - A formal process is underway to protect a popular Vernon beach from development down the road.
Zoned as is, Kal Beach could become the site of Vernon's next lakeside resort, the prospect of which was enough for a city councillor to get the ball rolling on securing it as a public park.
"I'm passionate that this stay in the public domain," Coun. Juliette Cunningham said Monday.
Cunningham put a motion on the table to rezone the beach and parking lot to 'parks and open space', which would ensure the land remains public forever.
Coun. Bob Spiers was the lone opponent to the motion, not because he disagrees with preserving the area, but because he thinks the application to rezone it is premature.
The City of Vernon will be handing ownership of the beach over to the Regional District of North Okanagan in 2014 as part of a parks restructuring plan, and Spiers says it would have been wiser to let them make the application.
"The cost shouldn't be borne by the City of Vernon taxpayers," Spiers says. "I believe there's a minimum application cost of $1,500."
He adds the application might also demand valuable staff time. Cunningham described the application as a "show of good faith" to the RDNO that the city is on board with parks restructuring, but Spiers believes it was an unnecessary one.
Ultimately though, Spiers believes it's about time the beach was rezoned.
"They (RDNO) could decide not to use Kal as a beach, but as a beachfront hotel. It would never happen, but politicians do come and go. You never know," Spiers says.
The City of Vernon will be sending an application to Coldstream, where the beach is located, requesting it be rezoned.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013