One of Kelowna’s favourite beaches has new look for summer - InfoNews

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One of Kelowna’s favourite beaches has new look for summer

This is what the playground area of Sarsons Beach Park looks like now with the hedge that divided that part of the park removed.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Kelowna
May 08, 2020 - 5:00 PM

When COVID-19 restrictions are eased and going to the beach is something people think about doing again, there’s a treat in store for users of Sarsons Beach Park in the Mission area of Kelowna.

In 2008, the City bought a house on the south side of the park with the idea of incorporating it into Sarsons Beach Park. While people did use the beach there, they were still sitting in front of the old house.

That was torn down about a month ago, some brush has been cleared and grass put in, opening up that part of the park.

On the north side of the parking lot, at about the same time as the house was torn down, a hedge was removed so Okanagan Lake comes into view.

“The design focused on opening up sight lines, including removing obstructions that could hide potential party areas,” Robert Parlane, the City’s parks and buildings manager wrote in a report that goes to city council Monday, May 11.

This is what the playground area looked like before the hedge was removed.
This is what the playground area looked like before the hedge was removed.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Kelowna

More than an acre of new lawn has been added to the park and the openness makes the beach more accessible. While the beach is no bigger, it is more accessible.

The redesign was budgeted at $230,000 and is mostly finished.

What council will be asked to consider on Monday is fencing. Many City parks are not fenced or only have fences between the parks and neighbouring properties.

“Our park designs try to avoid our parks appearing as fenced compounds,” the report states. “We are endeavouring to make them more welcoming. Opening up valuable views of the lake at different parks across the city without being obscured by fencing is part of that celebration of our parks.”

The recommendation is to remove existing fencing, have a gate that can be closed across the entrance road and low shrubs to mark the park boundary.

“A chain-link fence across a park frontage unfortunately provides a false sense of security,” the report states. “While it prevents the majority of law abiding residents from entering, it actually creates very little obstacle for someone intent on entering the park to either party or break and enter a property from the waterfront.

“Once in, it provides greater confidence as they know they will be left undisturbed. However, we still need to maintain security. By increasing sight lines into the park, the eyes and ears of residents offers a greater year-round deterrent. With the property demolished, car headlights coming down Sarsons Road will shine directly into the park, and because this is unpredictable, create a greater deterrent.”

Signage will also be changed to allow public use of 17 parking stalls at the seniors activity centre in evenings and weekends.

Long-term City plans call for the eventual demolition of the activity centre with those functions moved to a new facility to be built elsewhere in the Mission.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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