Nature advocates want official status for park

Friends of Esplanade want the esplanade park to be given official city status to better protect it and attract more visitors.

PENTICTON - Even though city staff treat the esplanade park near Marina Way as one of the city's own, advocates want council to make it official.

Right now the esplanade park and its trails, located between Vancouver Hill, Marina Way and the Kettle Valley Railway North, is looked after by advocates and city staff. Two Friends of the Esplanade, Mike Arnett and Hannah Pierce, were at Monday's city council to say they want more.

They said people enjoy the park but it is also prone to vagrancy, illegal camping and fires and the RCMP do not patrol it.

The Friends of Esplanade want the city to designate it as an official municipal park which would pave the way to benches, picnic tables, brush clearing, public washrooms and general maintenance.

Arnett and Pierce said the park is home to dozens of species, including birds and reptiles and has a significant historical aspect, as it overlooks Penticton's original town site. By becoming an official park and building amenities such as washrooms it would encourage more use from residents and visitors as well as from students.

The Friends of Esplanade already have signatures from neighbouring residences supporting the idea of it becoming an official city park. Arnett expected an environmental impact assessment, a survey, trail design and public consultation will need to be completed before the city stamps it official.

Coun. Judy Sentes said she's lived in Penticton for 25 years and she's surprised about the information brought forward about the park and supports the city looking into the matter of designating it. The motion was passed unanimously.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065, tweet @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict


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