West Kelowna to consider lifeguards as part of CNR Wharf Park upgrades

West Kelowna council waded through some of the phase one key decision points Tuesday evening.

A proposed water zipline, diving platform and spring board are some of the phase one CNR Wharf Park upgrade features that have residents, and even councillors, excited.

But additional safety concerns and the possible need for lifeguards on site have a few members of West Kelowna council far less thrilled.

West Kelowna council waded through some of the phase one key decision points Tuesday evening.

The first stage of improvements, which is expected to cost $543,000, will potentially include a boardwalk, a shaded seating area, two new lift towers, new diving platforms, a floating dock with a slide, a diving board and a zipline.

“I’m a little troubled with this,” said Coun. Bryden Winsby.

“I’m struck by the fact we seem to be solving one safety issue, but perhaps introducing some others.”

A report presented to council Tuesday evening states the best practices and recommendations from the Lifesaving Society of BC suggest that any diving platform over three metres should only be open for use when a lifeguard is on duty.

“Considering lifeguards is acknowledging there’s a risk—there’s danger there.”

He added there would be a significant cost associated with hiring lifeguards every year, as well as potential liability issues.

District staff will bring a report back to council—regarding options and costs associated with providing lifeguards—on Aug. 27.

Although council debated the lifeguarding and safety aspects, many councillors and members of the public indicated they are pleased with the detailed design of phase one.

According to director of development services, Nancy Henderson, about 500 West Kelowna residents have provided comment on the CNR Wharf Park Plan to date. Of the 56 surveys completed, 100 per cent of respondents were in support of the proposed design.

“I like the design—this is what our youth have been asking for: Some recreational activities they can have fun with,” said Coun. Gord Milsom.

“I might even try that zipline myself.”

Coun. David Knowles also complimented district staff on the design.

“This is what the kids want; this will put us on the map,” said Knowles.

The second phase of improvements is expected to cost $1.37 million and will include an entry plaza with signage, seating, a refreshment kiosk and bike parking, formalized planting areas and a boardwalk connection.

Demolition and construction on the first phase of the new wharf could begin as early as October.


Twitter: @PatersonWade


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