KELOWNA, B.C. – You’ll find red tail hawks, great horned and screech owls: but getting to Munson Pond where they live in Kelowna isn’t easy, yet.
The City of Kelowna is closer to creating public access to the obscure location of this unique environmental setting in the center of town.
Council has invited City park planners to share ideas on what developing the 27 acres would look like.
“We’re looking at a trail that would completely go around the pond and some environmental restoration of the riparian areas,” says planner Barb Davidson. “It’s a popular pond for the observation of waterfowl so we might look at the construction of bird blinds.”
The pond sits at the end of Munson Road and used to be a gravel pit. A natural spring has filled in the depression and created a natural wildlife habitat with one of the last groves of Cottonwood trees in the City.
“It’s fairly hidden, so it’s a very neat spot,” says Davidson.
The Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club has been pushing to preserve the Munson Pond area for years.
“It’s just a great place for any bird that needs nature like aquatic habitat,” says Jorma Jyrkkanen, the club’s vice-president. “If you’re preserving it for nature then you’ve got to be careful about how you design your trails. You’ve got to be careful whether you let dogs in and off leash.”
City planners believe they need about $250,000 to add trails and interpretive signs, which could be included in the City’s 2015 budget, if approved by council.
While Mayor Walter Gray will not be running in the fall election, he is pleased to see his vision for Munson Pond realized.
“Munson Pond is something that we’ve had our eyes on for a long long time,” says Gray. “In fact Councillor (Robert) Hobson and I go back over 25 years on seeing the vision for Munson Pond.”
“When you can get areas of recreation and peaceful existence in the middle of a built up area, it has a particular charm,” says Gray.
The City owned land around Munson Pond is currently leased to two tenants and an agricultural operation.
Munson Road can be accessed off of Benvoulin Road.