To the editor:
Re: Council Will Revisit Decision To Tidy Greenspace, Lake Country Calendar Feb. 13.
As a new member to the Council of Lake Country, as the Okanagan Centre Ward representative, I have spent a lot of time talking to residents, and reading current letters and past documents outlining Okanagan Centre residents’ wishes for the Okanagan Centre greenspace/public beach.
In 2007, at a cost to Lake Country tax payers upwards of $20,000, a consultant was hired to survey Okanagan Centre residents on their wishes for the community and its public spaces (e.g. the Okanagan Centre Greenspace/Public Beach). Completion of this document, titled Okanagan Centre Sector Plan, was in November 2007 and presented to the council of the day. This document surveyed Okanagan Centre residents in great detail and resulted in the following responses:
• 76 per cent felt that unapproved structures should be removed from the foreshore
• 84 per cent felt that the municipality should more strictly enforce parks and parking bylaws
• 88 per cent felt that the foreshore should be kept natural, undeveloped, and for public use
Fast forward five years and the Parks and Recreation Committee (made up of hardworking community-minded volunteers) recommended to council to follow our own Parks bylaws and remove all private property from the public beach.
Council voted unanimously to support this recommendation in September 2012.
Lake Country council had finally acted upon the intent of the results from the Okanagan Centre Sector Plan Survey of 2007.
On Feb. 5, 2013 a resident spoke to council on behalf of eight or nine residents, requesting council stop the cleanup, and suggested we hire another consultant to do another study before rushing into a beach cleanup.
Councillor (Penny) Gambell then informed council that she was notifying us that she would bring forward a motion to rescind our previous motion—essentially a motion to reverse the beach cleanup.
On Feb. 19, 2013 after receiving many letters in support of the cleanup after the article in the Lake Country Calendar indicated this would be going back before council, Coun. Gambell withdrew her motion, as she stated she felt she did not have the support of council to continue.
In an effort to ensure that this issue would not appear before council yet again, wasting municipal staff and council’s time and taxpayers’ money, I moved to make the cleanup an operational program of the municipality, like any other public park in Lake Country, and to not revisit this issue before the end of 2013 at council’s discretion.
This will ensure municipal staff has enough time to clean up the public beach and return it back to the public where it belongs.
District of Lake Country
Okanagan Centre Ward