The plan for Hurlburt Park on Okanagan Lake has been given approval by Vernon council to proceed to detailed design and construction.
However, council did have a lengthy debate over whether a picnic shelter should be included at the north end, due to noise concerns expressed by a neighbor.
Councillor Scott Anderson said he would support not putting a shelter in the park due to what he called “the noise and disruption” it would cause the neighbor.
“I don’t think it’s crucial to have a shelter in the park if its going to cause this turmoil,” said Anderson.
Councillor Brian Quiring wasn’t opposed to having the shelter, but wondered if it could be located somewhere else on the site, to which City staff said that was the only flat spot on the site.
Councillor Juliette Cunningham argued in favour of the shelter’s original site, even if it was a concern for the neighbor.
“We’ve heard these kind of things before where they are adjacent to private property. This shelter is for the benefit of the greater community,” said Cunningham.
Mayor Akbal Mund says the bottom line is — it’s a public beach.
“We don’t want to set a precedent here by allowing people to tell us what we can do in parks and what we can’t. Parks existed before the homes around the parks got there, and that’s very important,” says Mund.
The plan for the shelter will go ahead — but with buffering to reduce the noise.
Council passed a motion to move ahead with the plan which also includes signage banning trailers, relocating the park gates, accommodating a non-motorized watercraft drop-off space, and adding a gravel path leading to the dock, and south to the lake access.
The city took over ownership of the park from the Regional District of North Okanagan on January 1 this year.
RDNO bought the 2.5 site from the United Church in 2015.
The church had used it as a summer camp called “Camp Hurlburt” for many years.