By on March 15, 2006

Beach access a key issue, and not just for local folks

We obviously touched a nerve last week with our front-page story on Town Council's move to make sure the public has fuller access to beaches along the Osoyoos lakefront.
This isn't a new topic “ it was a major issue in last fall's municipal election­, when many local residents and at least a couple of Council candidates raised the issue in no uncertain terms. The cry was: 'Take back our beaches for the benefit of the public.'rnThe increasing trend of private landowners and lakefront developers to post 'Private Property' signs and, in some cases, erect fences on public lands, was something the voters wanted stopped. Now, to its credit, Council has acted.
But the interesting thing to us is that it's not just an issue for local folks. Public access to the beach is a local amenity that matters just as much to our many thousands of summer tourists and our growing numbers of winter Snowbirds.
Within a day of publishing our Page 1 story, we received a letter to the editor on the subject and two Snowbirds dropped into our office to say in passionate terms just how important they think this Council initiative is.
Ethel Kuefler, of Redwater, Alta., says she hopes Osoyoos people win this battle for their beaches. You've got wonderful things here in Osoyoos, and one of the most important is beach access. She and her husband, visitors over the past 12 years, have been stopped from walking along the beach a number of times by private property signs.
Lawrence Crosthwaite and his wife, of Edmonton, travelled here in their RV this winter to check out Osoyoos as a possible regular winter home. While they love many things about our town, they were really disappointed about the beach access situation.rnKuefler and Crosthwaite underline the fact that unfettered beach access “ the ability for people to take long strolls along our beautiful lakeshore without being stopped “ is a huge attraction.
It's an important part of the quality of life for local residents. And it's a key feature that will convince visitors to enjoy our town and our lake instead of searching for that feature in some other community.

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