A Summer 2018 opening for a water play park proposed for the Osoyoos Lake beachfront north of Gyro Park is looking more and more to be a done deal.
Osoyoos Council Monday gave two readings to a zoning change that would allow Okanagan Wibit to set up the inflatable play area directly behind the Osoyoos Museum and Osoyoos Seniors Centre.
Space at Gyro Park would also be required for up to five life jacket storage bins and a registration kiosk. The bins and the kiosk would be placed at the southeast corner of Gyro Park’s main grassed area, next to the Senior Centre’s lawn bowling area.
The zoning change will now go to a public hearing April 30 — at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers — allowing Osoyoos residents a last look at the project before it’s approved.
The park, which would include an inter-connected series of structures covering up to a 51-metre x 40-metre space and accommodate between 120 and 140 users, was originally to be placed at either Legion or Cottonwood Beach.
But Okanagan Wibit, which owns and operates similar parks in Penticton, Peachland and Kelowna, discounted those locations, noting proximity to resorts and public facilities, inadequate water depths and boat traffic.
Instead, it asked Council in November to consider the Gyro Park location.
“I feel like we’ve done more than our due diligence looking at this project,” said Coun. Mike Campol, who sits on the Town’s Waterfront Steering Committee with Coun. CJ Rhodes. “Any potential challenges or concerns we have have been addressed.”
His position was supported by Coun. Rhodes.
“I’ve been very much in favour of this from the very beginning,” he said. “It’s an amenity that’s going to work well and be well used by our community and our visitors during the summer months.”
Okanagan Wibit still requires several approvals from the provincial government — which has responsibility for Lake Osoyoos — but Gina MacKay, the Town’s Director of Planning and Development Services, told Council she didn’t think that would be a problem.
“(The province is) actually working on it to meet that deadline for us,” she said.
Coun. Rhodes reported the only concern he’s heard from residents about the project is a lack of opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
But he discounted that, saying several opportunities — including a survey — have given the community numerous chances to comment. He made a point of encouraging anyone with concerns to attend the April 30 hearing.
Mayor Sue McKortoff said she attended a December open house hosted by the Okanagan Wibit team.
“The Wibit people were extremely good at explaining and they gave very specific answers,” she reported. “I felt very comfortable at the end of that meeting with the information that they gave.”