UPDATED: Public will have chance to comment on inflatable Wibit waterpark planned for north end of Gyro Park

By on April 3, 2018

The Kelowna Wibit (pictured), like the one in Penticton, is very popular with youngsters or all ages. (Okanagan Wibit photo)

The public will have a chance to comment on a plan to allow an inflatable Wibit waterpark in Osoyoos Lake off the north end of Gyro Park when a public hearing is held at the end of the month.

At the council meeting of Tuesday, April 3, council gave first and second readings to a bylaw amendment that would change zoning on the lake near the Osoyoos Senior Centre and the lawn bowling green to allow the waterpark.

The town has been looking into a Wibit waterpark since being approached by Okanagan Wibit in 2016. Most recently, Legion Beach south of the downtown was considered for the site and at one point Cottonwood Park was considered. Some people raised concerns about limited parking at those locations.

In a request for proposals over a year ago, Okanagan Wibit was the only company expressing interest.

The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at town hall.

In her report to council, Gina MacKay, director of planning and development services, says an inflatable waterpark could be an asset for Osoyoos, serving as an additional attraction.

The hope is to have it in operation for this summer, if necessary approvals can be obtained from both the town and the province.

During discussion at council, Mayor Sue McKortoff asked if it was realistic that the park could be in operation by the summer. MacKay replied that she had recent discussions with the province and they are working to meet that deadline.

The town has applied to the province for a water license and Okanagan Wibit is currently working with the province to obtain required permits for working in and around the foreshore, MacKay reported.

She told council that the plan is to hold the bylaw at third reading until all the approvals are completed and then bring it forward for adoption after the province has signed off and the town is comfortable with how Okanagan Wibit will operate a registration office and life jacket storage in Gyro Park.

Coun. Mike Campol said that he and Coun. C.J. Rhodes are members of the waterfront steering committee that has looked at this proposal.

“I feel like we’ve done more than our due diligence on looking at this project based on location, and any potential challenges or concerns that have been addressed,” he said. “I would like to see it happen for this summer.”

Rhodes agreed.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people about it, but it’s all been positive,” he said, adding that it hasn’t been as controversial as some people suggested it would be. “It’s an amenity that’s going to work well and be well used by our community and by a lot of our visitors during the summer months.”

Some people have told him there wasn’t any opportunity to comment, but he pointed out that there has been one public meeting already and the April 30 hearing will provide another opportunity.

Two different sizes for the inflatable waterpark are under consideration.

A smaller one would be 48 by 25 metres with a capacity of 80 to 100 people.

A larger one would be 51 by 40 metres with a capacity of 120 to 140 people.

The waterpark would be anchored and surrounded by swim markers installed by Okanagan Wibit. A small registration office and lifejacket storage bins would be on land at Gyro Park next to the south corner of the lawn bowling. The company would lease the municipal land from the town.

Unlike most municipalities, Osoyoos has municipal zoning of the foreshore and the lake close to shore.

Under the Foreshore and Lake Zoning Bylaw, the foreshore would require rezoning in this area to W4, “Commercial Moorage”, and an inflatable waterpark would need to be added as a site-specific permitted use.

Currently it is zoned as W1, “Public Water Use.”

Currently Okanagan Wibit operates popular Wibit waterparks in Kelowna, Penticton and Peachland.

Council discussed the time and place for the hearing. In the end they opted to keep it at the council chambers where there is live video, but to move it to the evening so more people can attend.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

 

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4 Comments

  1. Tom

    April 3, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Waste of money, try repairing the awful potholes that have sat for years in this town.

    This will just cause problems eg…drownings, it’s not a neccessity, as it is here in the summer, Osoyoos attracts too many tourists, high traffic volumes, this is not a city. Put that money out for the residents of this town for once.

    • staff1

      April 3, 2018 at 11:11 am

      The costs would be covered by Okanagan Wibit, not the town.

    • Mike Campol

      April 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      This is a zoning and lease issue. No taxpayer money is being spent on the Waterpark.
      Also, tourism feeds local businesses and we are a Resort Municipality.

  2. citizen1

    April 4, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Totally support the idea of a wibit park. Although, having kiosks in Gyro park might inhibit other events like the Cactus jalopies, music in the park and elks beer gardens, to mention a few. Is that side of the beach front not the windiest part of the lake? The currents seem to be most intense in that part of the lake. Also, would sparks from our July 1st fireworks burn holes in the park? Would this site not lack in visual advertising because of the museum and senior center blocking the site from tourists?

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