‘Pathetic’ conditions of Vernon lakeshore draw complaints

Weeds and garbage are common at public beach accesses on Vernon’s Lakeshore Road . - lisa vandervelde/morning star
Weeds and garbage are common at public beach accesses on Vernon’s Lakeshore Road .
— image credit: lisa vandervelde/morning star

A Vernon resident insists there will be unrealized potential as long as public waterfront deteriorates.

Joel Ellams, a realtor who lives on Lakeshore Road, says he is increasingly frustrated with the condition of 10 Okanagan Lake lots owned by the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“The beaches are getting pathetic,” he said.

Ellams says weeds are allowed to flourish and there is a steady flow of garbage from people using the sites or surfacing from the lake.

“There are diapers there and ice bags washed up (from boats). There is dog crap all over.”

Besides impacting local residents wanting to soak up the sun, Ellams believes the lack of maintenance is hurting the economy.

“It’s scaring people from developing,” he said of Vernon’s tourist commercial waterfront plan.

“You can’t sell resort uses across the street from derelict beaches. We don’t have industry in this town. We need to draw people in to create a stable economy.”

In 2011, RDNO allotted $220,000 on upgrades to the properties, including removing dangerous trees, rough grading, installation of a rail fence, signage, benches, lawn and willow trees.

Ellams says little action has likely occurred because politicians are too busy wrangling over governance of parks and recreation.

“I’d like them to make a decision on who is controlling parks and go ahead with maintenance,” he said.

Regional district officials admit no work has been done along Lakeshore Road.

“Due to capacity issues with staffing, we weren’t able to complete it,” said planner Keith Pinkoski.

“The money is still in reserves and the parks are a priority but time and attention has been focused on other things (recreation complex and other facilities with safety concerns).”

Pinkoski says garbage cans could possibly be installed this year but more complex upgrades will be considered as part of the 2013 capital plan.

“We want it to be usable,” he said.

“I drive by there every morning and if we had some extra hands, we could deal with it.”





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