KELOWNA - In an effort to show how accessible — or inaccessible — the foreshore on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna is, a Walk the Beach event is being held this Sunday.
The four kilometre walk on Sunday, Aug. 27, which has been planned for months, has been organized by foreshore advocate Brenda Bachmann and PLANKelowna founder Al Janusas.
“We’ve had an enormous amount of support, online and calls, people even approach us on the street to tell us how glad someone is sticking with it,” Janusas said. “A lot of people have brought the subject up in the past, but they encounter so much red tape and resistance from levels of government and powers that be, that they get too frustrated.”
As of Wednesday, Aug. 23, the Walk the Beach Facebook group had 146 people indicate they were going to the event and 406 say they are interested.
Although the discussion on the accessibility of Kelowna’s foreshore is not a new one, the subject garnered a new level of attention with this year's spring flooding.
Because many lakefront property owners lost their docks and are now rebuilding, Bachmann told iNFOnews.ca in June that it’s the perfect time to make the foreshore more accessible.
“Things have to be rebuilt anyways, so why not build them to code,” she said.
But Janusas said the majority of docks being rebuilt are not making the required changes.
“The Province has said over and over they would be there and increase enforcement,” he says. “I don’t know where and when they’re doing the enforcement but it doesn’t seem to be happening.”
The walk is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Kelowna City Park at the south end near the tunnel. It will take roughly two to three hours and end at Gyro Beach.
Janusas said there are sections of the beach that are inaccessible so they will be bypassed by walking along the street and then re-entering the foreshore at the next access point. As much as pets might enjoy the walk, Janusas is asking event goers to leave them at home. Additionally, the walk is not recommended for children under six-years-old.
“We don’t want to be caught with our pants down in the future with no green space for people to enjoy,” Janusas said. “Let’s look forward, we’ve got a growing population so let’s plan ahead and link those sections now so we have the benefit of a beautiful, accessible lakefront for everyone.”
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