Posted on 17 October 2012 by Keith Lacey
Final plans won’t be revealed and approved for some time, but more than 30 local stakeholders who participated in a three-day workshop on the future of Gyro Park shared a common vision of creating a beautiful, accessible and fun place to visit for all members of the family, say several members of town council and the town’s director of development and planning, Alain Cunningham.
“It has to remain a public place that has something to offer to all members of the family,” said Cunningham, who helped organize the three-day “community charette” or planning session, which involved a wide variety of community stakeholders, including local business owners, private citizens and members from various community organizations.
The event included a public meeting last Thursday evening, which was attended by almost 40 citizens who looked at drawings and tentative proposals to make Gyro Park an even more inviting and popular place with local residents and tourists.
Coun. C.J. Rhodes said this process shows how productive people with a vested interest can be when they talk about key issues and are asked to come up with creative ideas.
“The importance of collaboration in our community can never be something we pass on by,” he said. “This workshop really showcased how we can all work together in this community to achieve great results.”
While the town has long had an official master plan for Gyro Park and other areas of town, holding a workshop involving so many diverse members of the community to discuss the long-term future and development of one of this town’s jewels was extremely effective and some tremendous ideas were discussed, said Rhodes.
“The 30 stakeholders were there to start with a clean slate … and helped develop a plan that will take us well into the future” in relation to Gyro Park, said Rhodes.
While there were so many diverse and strong opinions, the general consensus was Gyro Park must remain an open green space which appeals to all age groups, with particular appeal to children and young families, said Rhodes.
After numerous roundtable meetings by various stakeholders, Rhodes said some of the key areas the majority of participants appeared to agree on included:
- Building a new pier near the main beach at Gyro Park on Osoyoos Lake that would provide a wonderful view of the lake and town.
- Create a plaza area in the former U-shaped parking lot at Gyro Beach, which would attract artists, vendors and be able to host numerous public functions.
- Discuss ways to attract more musical concerts and events either at the current Gyro Bandshell or at a new facility in the park.
- Introduce family gathering areas that offer activities for children and promote the park as a family-friendly location.
- Encourage and promote the sport of beach volleyball, which is one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in the province and country.
- Attract more food vendors offering a wide and varied list of food items to tourists and local citizens.
- Preserve the quality of the lake and green space, including water quality riparian areas in the park.
Coun. Sue McKortoff said Gyro Park must also be promoted as a place where local residents and tourists can feel safe and secure at all times.
“We want to make the park as safe and as accessible as we possibly can,” she said.
The workshop also confirmed the Osoyoos Seniors Centre is a vitally important part of Gyro Park and plays an integral role in the quality of life of many seniors in this community, said McKortoff.
The town plans on holding one or two more public input sessions at the Sonora Community Centre within the next month to give local residents an opportunity to present their own ideas to improve Gyro Park as part of a long-term plan, said Cunningham.
Once those hearings take place and information from it is gathered, Colette Parsons, a senior planner with City Space Consulting Ltd. out of Vancouver, will go to work to prepare a final report on the long-term plan for Gyro Park, said Cunningham.
Parsons is expected to present her final report to town council later this winter or in early spring.