Vernon council working on improving public access to Okanagan Lake

VERNON - Opening up public access to Okanagan Lake in Vernon is on city council’s to do list.

There are currently 43 public access road rights of way to Okanagan Lake, but many are not clearly identified and some are hard to distinguish due to encroachments by adjacent property owners.

“We have committed to developing public access because that is what the public is demanding,” Coun. Juliette Cunningham says.

In 2005, the city hired a consultant to evaluate the lake accesses and was advised to keep and improve 33 and dispose of nine. Two have since been sold, and four improved for public use, states a report from city staff.

“Throughout numerous public consultation initiatives, the city has consistently heard the public would like to see more access to the lake. During the consultation for the parks master plan for example, the public identified lakes and beach areas as one of the top priorities and visiting the beaches in Vernon was one of the top ten activities people engaged in most frequently,” parks planner Kendra Kryszak said in the report.

Council voted to initiate a process to update the lake access plan, which will include an implementation schedule and budget. Funding of $50,000 a year has been set aside for lake access improvements in 2017 and 2018.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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