To the editor:
Readers of a letter criticizing plans for the redevelopment of a parking lot beside Boyce-Gyro Park should be aware that it contained incorrect information.
Before getting into the details, here are some quick facts:
There will continue to be parking at the park—132 stalls that will not all be fully occupied for 90 per cent of the year.
The sale of a small portion of land at the north edge of the existing parking lot will fund more recreation facilities and amenities for the park.
Before the city bought the Watt Road property in 2006, Boyce-Gyro was served by 36 parking spaces in the park and another 26 spaces across Lakeshore Road. The city’s plan was to create a new parking lot of 100 stalls.
Before the planning process began, council set a minimum target of 120 stalls, a further increase on the originally anticipated 100. As the design progressed, space for parking was increased further to the 132 stalls, a 32 per cent increase on the original estimate when the land was purchased. This is significantly more than the many other popular beach parks along Lakeshore Drive.
The existing temporary gravel parking lot was created, but parking can be disorganized without stall markings, and the lot can reach capacity with anywhere from 90 to 118 stalls.
In addition to the increased order and capacity through marked parking stalls, the parking lot design also has generous planting boulevards so trees can visually break up the large paved area and provide welcome shade.
The city’s parking counts at the park since July 2016 show the existing lot only reaches capacity during hot, summer days—less than 10 per cent of the year.
The city is not actively seeking to discourage the use of cars in this case, but it is also always looking to support pedestrians, cyclists and transit users. The plan does include extensions of the multi-use trails along both Watt and Lakeshore roads.
Commercial redevelopment was always anticipated when the city purchased the property. The sale of the commercial property will generate funds for multi-use trails and other recreation and park amenities.
In fact, this proposed plan actually increases the area to be designated as park. It is also an opportunity to reclaim some of the highly valuable land near the beach to increase the recreational area of the park, and add additional amenities, for the benefit of all park users.
Contrary to claims in the letter, this plan provides more than double the parking stalls available before the land was purchased, retains more parkland than originally anticipated, funds the improvements largely through profits achieved on the land sale, increases the recreational area of the park and adds valuable amenities such as additional volleyball courts and multi-use trails.
Tom Wilson, City of Kelowna