EDITORIAL: Lake access is a priority

Vernon residents have already stated that Okanagan Lake access is a priority

The lack of enthusiasm among some Vernon politicians for developing beaches is discouraging.

While the city is marketing the area to tourists and officials brag about growth, the prospect of enhanced Okanagan Lake access has stalled.

In fact, a decision on lakeshore lots may be put off until well after two public open houses Feb. 15 and 25.

“Let’s see if the public really is demanding lake access,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

It’s fine to hold open houses but the reality is that residents already identified lake access as a top priority during the parks master plan process.

“For families that don’t travel, this is their entertainment. They go to the beach,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

Now perhaps city staff’s plan to develop two sites in 2017 and eight in 2018 is ambitious, but when you consider the demand and the fact that it could take years to overhaul the 39 sites for use, the quick pace is understandable.

Yes there will be a cost whether the work is done within city hall or by consultants, but the politicians have to remember that beyond roads and sewer, recreational infrastructure is vital if a community is to thrive socially and economically.

And while Mayor Akbal Mund questions workload, city staff were confident in their ability to handle lake accesses along with other activities.

We would urge residents to not only attend the open houses, but to also call members of council. There is a need to move ahead on lake access.