Community petition leads to new park acquisition in Peachland | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Community petition leads to new park acquisition in Peachland

Turner Park in Peachland
Image Credit: Kathy Michaels
November 01, 2020 - 11:00 AM

The District of Peachland purchased a significant parcel of land to build a park after a significant push by area residents.

The property known as Turner Park is used by area residents from summer to winter, for everything from dog walking to playing sports, park neighbour Jay Heidelbach said. This summer, it was even briefly transformed into a drive-in movie theatre.

While it's been used as a park the land wasn't designated as such and slated for a development. When Heidelbach and other neighbours and residents saw it go up for sale they created an online and paper petition.

READ MORE: Petition started by Central Okanagan residents to keep public park

“It seemed to me that it was needed in the community for locals to use,” he said. Between the two petitions, they gathered roughly 420 signatures urging the district to purchase it and keep it as a public amenity.

And, this week, the town announced they did just that.

The property known as Turner Park, at 6114 Turner Rd., was formerly owned by School District No. 23.

In 2006, SSC Ventures Ltd. purchased the property from the school district. Prior to 2006, the District of Peachland had a lease agreement with the school district to use and occupy Turner Park for public use.

Initially, there was an unwritten agreement between SSC Ventures Ltd. and the district to allow for public use and from 2011-2018 there was a formal agreement between the two parties. In 2018, the park was subject to storm damage, so the district discontinued the use of the park rather than invest in repairs.

“The fact that they did buy it is terrific. It’s going to be tremendous to have that size of a park for people to use and I’m sure that it’ll take a year or two to get it back to a usable park standard, but I want to thank the councillors and mayor for acting on this time-sensitive land purchase,” he said.

“It’ll be really nice to have green grass and maintenance in the park for sure.”

The District of Peachland will take ownership of the lands on March 30, 2021. A park plan, which will include a public consultation process, will be developed in the future to determine future park uses and maintenance, according to a district press release.

“Council is pleased to deliver on the community’s desire to re-gain access to this former public space,” said Mayor Cindy Fortin in the press release She highlighted the overwhelming support to purchase the lands through a recent petition.

"Conversations around the potential acquisition of this site have been ongoing for decades. I am pleased we can secure the Turner Park site for generations to come.”

It was originally listed for $3.5 million, but the district purchased it for $3.1 million.

The upper portion of the site fronting Turner Avenue is one of the only remaining undeveloped properties in Peachland able to accommodate athletic fields and other park amenities requiring flat land.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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