City approves 63K fence for Sarsons Beach Park

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Kelowna council has approved a temporary six foot metal fence to be installed along the front entrance to Sarsons Beach Park in the lower mission.

Area residents have been concerned about safety and security while the city expands Sarsons Beach, adding not only more waterfront but also more lawn and better parking.

City staff had suggested temporarily leaving up the modu-lock fencing until a permanent fence is placed along the neighbouring property line in the next few months.

Parks Planning Manager Robert Parlane explained, a tall fence and gate give a false sense of security.

“Really, a fence and locks keep honest people out but anyone with any intent could scale a six foot fence quite quickly and once they’re over there, they’re in behind. So, whatever activity they’re up to, they know they’re not going to be disturbed by the general public.” 

Parlane added that a fence will partially obscure the view of the park from security vehicles on the road.

The metal rail fence with stone clad pillars and a matching gate is going to cost the city $63,000.

Councillor Gail Given, who voted against the alternate motion, was concerned about spending money during the pandemic.

“I must say, I’m quite struggling with this recommendation knowing just how difficult the number of cuts we had to make to our budget, just last week that we approved cuts to our budget, so to come in this week with $63,000 additional expense is really hard for me to support, especially knowing that is isn’t the permanent long term vision,” said Given.

The fence will be removed when the neighbouring property is acquired and the park is expanded.

Parking hours in the Okanagan Mission Activity Centre parking lot will be modified and the park will have two foosball tables when construction is finished.

Mayor Colin Basran was torn about the decision but said the beach was not large enough yet not to require a fence.

“I agree that this is not similar to a beach end waterfront access but I also think that it’s not quite yet comparable to a Bluebird Beach Park or Gyro Beach.”

He pointed out that the fence will only cover a third of the street frontage and will be taken out in the future.

“Given the fact that we still ultimately need to buy a home on the frontage, which is where we’re going to put our ultimate parking for the site. Until we own that property, while the park is large in nature because of where that house is situated, we actually don’t own a majority of the street frontage,” said Basran.

The motion passed in seven to two vote with Councillors Gail Given and Charlie Hodge opposed.