Public invited to open house in early February to provide input on lakefront landscape projects

By on January 22, 2014

Members of the public are being invited to attend an open house to discuss and provide input into various lakefront landscape projects being considered by Town of Osoyoos council for 2014.

The biggest proposal being considered is a $610,000 project to build a Gyro Park Multi-Purpose Plaza that would expand and beautify the popular downtown park.

“The plaza project is one of the priorities identified in our Gyro Park plan prepared through a charette stakeholder process and endorsed by council for implementation on a project-by-project basis,” said Alain Cunningham, the town’s director of planning and development services.

Some of the proposed features for the plaza include a large gathering area with concrete pavers in a decorative pattern to replace the current parking lot that has been closed down to vehicular traffic for almost two years.

A vehicular-accessible “spine extension” from the gathering area to access the lakefront eastwards is also proposed as is a small northern extension of the lakefront lawns to abut the gathering area, said Cunningham.

The addition of a concrete apron around the Gyro Park washroom/concession building and a multi-leveled composite deck to the south is also proposed.

An expanded eating section outside the concession area, universal access to the washroom/concession building from Park Place and an access stairway down to the new Gyro parking lot are also planned.

Tree and shrubs would be planted, irrigation installed and decorative lighting, signage and furniture are also recommended, he said.

Total cost estimates for all the Gyro Plaza works comes to just under $610,000, which significantly exceeds the construction budget of $294,000 currently allocated from Resort Municipality Funding, said chief administrative officer Barry Romanko.

There may be some flexibility in this budget, including $27,000 in unspent funds from 2013, $43,000 currently earmarked to developing the town’s “Y property” in the north end of town and $50,000 and $150,000, respectively budgeted in 2015 and 2016 for lakefront improvements, said Romanko.

The town’s Waterfront Steering Committee has suggested the project be built in two phases and ensure phase one be completed before the May long weekend.

The first phase would cost roughly $450,000 and encompass the main plaza area, while the second phase could be completed in 2015 or 2016, by adding the eastern spine extension at a cost of $130,000.

Options to build the decking with wood instead of composite deck construction and not purchasing tables and chairs for the deck could save roughly $60,000 from the overall cost of the project, said a staff report.

It’s now up to council to determine if major upgrades to Gyro Park should be completed strictly with Resort Municipality Funding or to add local taxpayer dollars, said Romanko.

“There should be some consideration for local financing at some point,” he said.

The scope of the project would have to be severely cut back if members of council decide to use only Resrot Municipality funding, said Romanko.

Coun. C. J. Rhodes, who is a member of the waterfront steering committee, said the committee would like to see major upgrades at Gyro Park done right, but acknowledged spending $600,000 to upgrade the area might not be palatable to local residents if taxpayer money is used.

“The consensus of the committee is we may be biting off a little more than we can chew with the $600,000 option,” said Rhodes. “At the end of the day we’re going to have a wonderful project down there that will be a wonderful amenity that will be used by a lot of people.”

Holding an open house to allow local residents to ask questions and provide input relating to the Gyro Park plaza proposal will go a long way in determining how council will proceed on this project, he said.

Gyro Park is one of the busiest and most attractive parts of this community and the waterfront steering committee recognizes that decisions made relating to this project are going to have a major impact on this town for years and decades to come, said Rhodes.

Another major landscaping project that will need funding in 2014 is the marina parking lot sloping area.

Council will have to decide on four options, ranging from using decorative rock at a cost of $32,000 to building a terraced wall with decorative rocks and shrubs at a cost of $143,000.

Other options include a combination of rocks, trees and shrubs to beautify the area.

Mayor Stu Wells said he has seen some beautiful decorative stone used to enhance similar projects and believes this would be the best way to finish an aesthetically-pleasing, but affordable option.

Council will also consider spending $18,000 to remove shale and replace it with compacted gravel near the marina’s riparian area.

There is also a proposal to install decorative rocks and plant trees at a cost of $21,000 in the Gyro Park parking lot islands and another $5,000 for rocks and trees outside the Osoyoos Sailing Club.

“Total costs for all other lakefront landscaping projects could be between $116, 635 and $228,145 based on including the least and highest cost options for the marina parking slope,” said Cunningham.

The meeting on February 6 will be held at the Sonora Community Centre starting at 6:30 p.m.

Consultants and members of the waterfront steering committee will be in attendance as well as members of town council.

Council is expected to make a decision on Gyro Park upgrades soon after that meeting if the goal of completing the upgrades before the May long weekend are to be achieved.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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