Kelowna beach gets bright new makeover in effort to rebrand

"We are just trying to change the narrative and get people talking about it in a different way," said Dayna Margetts.

An oft-maligned beach received a cheerful makeover this weekend when area residents headed to the space armed with bright paints, brushes and good intentions.

“We are  just trying to change the narrative and get people talking about it in a different way,” said Dayna Margetts, as she painted the base of a tree at the Lake Avenue road-end with toxin free hot pink paint.

Margetts organized the event that saw more than 100 area residents of the Lake Avenue Residents Group gather to brighten trees with non-toxic paint, plant new greenery and generally cleanup the space.

“We want to get more people to check it out and see the park differently,” she said. “It has a reputation we want to change.”

Margetts went public last year with complaints about the space, which is also called Mushroom Beach.

In a letter that was published in the Capital News she said she no longer wanted to go to the beach because, among other things,  open drug and alcohol use, nudity, and beach-goers using nearby bushes as their bathroom.

“I moved into my neighbourhood so that I could walk to the end of my street and be at the beach,” wrote Margetts in her letter. “I can’t do that anymore. I can’t take my four-year-old to a place that is packed with drug users, where people are so drunk they can’t stand up straight and where the vocabulary of the people using the beach is not suitable for even late-night cable (TV).”

While the hope was the rowdiness from last year would abate with some attention, that’s not been the case.

Continuing a trend that’s been ongoing for three years, the beach is continually a hotspot for  less than family friendly activities.

The cleanup wasn’t just neighbourhood supported. The City of Kelowna came through for concerned residents with two grants, the Partners in Parks grant and Strong Neighbourhoods grant, amounting to $11,000.

Pay parking has been instituted to deter people from parking at the beach all day with nefarious intent. There’s also a Porta Potty.