Lake Country council will have a familiar issue at the next meeting after residents raised concerns about the proposed clean up of a three-kilometre walking trail alongside Okanagan Lake.
Council had previously passed a motion to remove old boathouses, boats, chairs and other private property left on the greenspace by residents but, following a presentation by two Lake Country residents who were against the clean up, council will be debating the issue again Tuesday.
“There is something of lifestyle and essence of a community that isn’t being recognized when you go through and clean up all of the tables and people’s kayaks that they use from time to time,” said resident resident David Geen.
“As a community you have the right to describe what you want in your community.”
Geen said the community was never properly consulted about the plan to remove private property from the greenspace, a trail that is public property that the district’s parks committee had wanted cleaned up.
But Geen said a clean-up will change the character of Okanagan Centre and is against a sector plan that was put together in 2006.
“We didn’t want street lights, we didn’t want extensive sidewalks. That is part of the lifestyle which has been here for 100 years, including the use of the beach area, the so-called greenspace.
“Council suddenly decided they were going to clean up that lifestyle. We’ve never had a town meeting about the greenspace and I can’t see how council can make a decision without doing that.”
Coun. Jamie McEwan, who sits on the parks committee, says he was surprised the issue will be back in front of council but welcomed the input from the concerned residents.
“I understand this is a big change for the area,” said McEwan.
“The area has been able to function as is for quite some time and this council has brought a lot of changes. It might be rather drastic for the area but I think it would be there for the benefit and enjoyment of the entire community. This is the direction our parks and recreation committee would like to go. It’s always a matter of balancing a multitude of perspectives on any issue.”
McEwan added that with the amount of private property items strewn about the greenspace, the trail can often be mistaken for private property, especially by people who may not be familiar with Okanagan Centre.
Mayor James Baker says council members will take the public’s concerns into consideration and hinted that a public meeting on the issue could be coming.
“Before any changes were going to be made to the greenspace we were going to do a public meeting,” Baker said.