Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster speaks at the newly renovated Kalamalka Lake rest area Friday.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster speaks at the newly renovated Kalamalka Lake rest area Friday.

Lookout gets a facelift

Renovations have transformed the Kalamalka Lake rest area back into a beautiful place to enjoy the view.

The overgrown weeds, spray paint and litter have been replaced with picnic benches, trees and a park-like setting at a popular lookout.

Renovations have transformed the Kalamalka Lake rest area off Highway 97 back into a beautiful place to enjoy the view.

The $58,000 upgrade includes two outhouses, six picnic tables, colourful garbage and recycling bins, fencing, trees and a grassy area.

It’s a breath of fresh air for both visitors and residents who were tired of the vandalism and lack of maintenance (including overgrown weeds) the lookout received in the past.

“Our councillor Doug Dirk actually came up here with his own weed eater,” said Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick.

The timing of the new lookout couldn’t be better.

“The bigger picture here is we’ve got a rail trail planned down below us,” said Garlick, also mentioning plans for a cycling path on the old highway.

The new rest area also creates an additional reason for tourists to stop in the region.

“The viewscape is second to none here,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster. “It’s a great place to bring your lunch and enjoy the view on a nice sunny day.”

Providing a safe place for motorists to recharge helps keep the highways safer for everyone, Foster added.

During a previous announcement at the lookout, Transportation Minister Todd Stone saw the need to upgrade the lookout, and was particularly keen on seeing the crooked historic sign put back upright.

The Kal Lake rest area upgrade is one of many across B.C.

“This is part of our commitment in B.C. on the Move to invest $9 million for new and upgraded rest areas over the next three years,” said Stone.

Interior Land Reclamation of Lake Country undertook the contract, which includes xeriscape design with native plants and rocks.

New garbage and recycling bins are part of the Garbage Gobbler program that pays tribute to the original version created in the 1950s.