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District of Lake Country looks to the future of Oyama isthmus

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District of Lake Country looks to plan the future of Oyama isthmus – Oct 2, 2020

The Oyama isthmus could look quite different in the future.

Because of its proximity to the rail trail, it’s a popular destination for people from all over the Okanagan.

But its popularity is rapidly outgrowing the amenities on offer, so the District of Lake Country is trying to design a long-term vision.

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“It’s about time some planning takes place,” Lake Country Mayor James Baker said, adding that the district just acquired the land a few years ago.

The district is now looking for public feedback on its plans for the stretch of land along Oyama Road from the Wood Lake boat launch to Trask Road.

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“We need accessible washrooms, for one thing, and accessible access to the water, which we don’t have anywhere in Lake Country yet,” Baker said.

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Some of the suggestions in the concept design include a play area and outdoor classroom, a community square, and a central beach and pier for swimmers and sunbathers.

“Being an architect myself, I’m seeing all those awesome ideas you can have when you play around with an area in a plan, but I see it as a little bit over the top,” Lake Country resident Anna Hansberg said.

Lake Country resident Joel Whitesel said he understands the need for more washrooms, parking and trash cans, but he has concerns about the proposed plan.

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So he started a petition calling for the waterfront to be preserved, and it’s already garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

“From the waterfront up to the rail trail, we don’t want to see that change. Keep that the way it is with all the trees and stuff, all the pocket beaches,” he said.

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Baker said the public is still encouraged to give public input, and noted the new plan will still include pocket beaches.

Once some ideas are finalized, the mayor said he’s hoping to get government grants and community group support for parts of the project along the way.

The district will work towards compiling its top priorities and start to look at future budgets accordingly, he added.

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