Unknown archeological find shuts down work on a Kelowna lakefront walkway - InfoNews

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Unknown archeological find shuts down work on a Kelowna lakefront walkway

Work has stopped on a path between Strathcona Park and Royal Avenue beach front because someone found something in the park that makes it an archeological site.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/PLANKelowna
May 26, 2020 - 6:30 PM

Work on a long-sought pathway along Okanagan Lake began in February but only lasted a week.

The plan was to connect Kelowna’s Strathcona Park with Royal Avenue beach front, near Kelowna General Hospital. A berm was going to protect the lakeshore from erosion, mitigate the risk of flooding to houses and create a pathway joining the two beaches.

“A week into it, we got notified by the archeological branch that there was an archeological site,” Andrew Gibbs, the city’s senior project manager, told iNFOnews.ca today, May 26. “Someone had found an archeological artifact on the site next door.”

The site next door was within the park, which is separated from the construction site by Strathcona Avenue. Work was stopped on the pathway because, Gibbs said, it was not known how big the site might be and, given that the land is by the lake, artifacts can “move over time.”

Gibbs does not know who found the artifact or what it is.

Only archeologists can get that information, he said.

The city is putting together an application to get a permit in order to do an archeological assessment of the site. Gibbs expects, if the permit is granted, that the archeologist will be able to access the information about what the artifact is and where it was found.

That application should be filed with the province this week.

Once an assessment is done, the city will likely have to apply for another permit so it can resume work on the pathway.

Gibbs was told by the province that the whole permitting process may be slowed down because of COVID-19.

Al Janusas, who has been lobbying for public access to the lakeshore for years, posted on his PLANKelowna Facebook page about the delay.

“Sad to report, this is expected to delay access to our waterfront there for at least another year,” he wrote. “This will presumably allow homeowners there to squat on city land for another year or more. We're not sure why the shed, fences and other barriers can't be removed in the meantime.”

He told iNFOnews.ca that he called the province’s archeology branch and could not find out where or what was found. The branch has concerns that such sites might be looted, he said.

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