April 03, 2013 - 2:06 PM
By Shannon Quesnel
City of Penticton and citizens will work on a new small park between Gahan Avenue and Eckhardt Avenue East.
This was the decision reached after dozens of homeowners told council no to residential development and yes to lending a hand for a new pocket park at 455-509 Gahan Ave. and 518 Eckhardt Ave. E.
Area residents Lana Hamilton, Marlene Robinson, and David Gaudet were just a few who spoke up at the microphone. Perry Ann Pike said her backyard is the Kettle Valley Railway trail and council should oppose development there.
Hamilton said, “Nobody wants (development). It's not worth putting up there if nobody wants it.”
The land alongside the KVR trail was going to be zoned residential. A developer was interested in building a five-floor high-rise. This made people unhappy.
Residents said it would ruin the green space they and their children enjoy, it would increase traffic and it would ruin the area's appeal. Some residents said people don't move to Penticton for jobs – they move here for the lifestyle and to be close to nature.
One homeowner said the area is a bit of a mess and it gets overgrown in the summer and it would be ideal for a deer to raise a fawn which might attract cougars. He would not want it heavily developed though. He suggested zone it to allow a single-family home or turn it into a park area.
Coun. Andrew Jakubeit said the same and the neighbourhood should take some ownership of it. This might mean cutting grass, trimming trees and picking up trash.
“I have no issue putting sweat equity into it,” said one resident.
Jakubeit said normally he doesn't stand in development's way but this proved the exception.
“It's clear what the community wants. It makes sense. I use that pathway quite frequently. It is a little bit of an issue in the summer because it tends to get overgrown.”
Coun. John Vassilaki said he would hate to see anything happen to that neighbourhood.
“One of the ladies said she would like to live there forever.”
City staff will work with the neighbourhood to see what resources each side can bring and who will do what.
“From this point on the park is in your hands,” Mayor Dan Ashton said.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013