Kelowna’s most well-tread park has had a major overhaul.
Crews have been working to update City Park since February and now it’s just about ready to be reopened, offering new lights, new benches and, most notably, a walkway nearly double what it once was and a number of features aimed at protecting the shoreline long into the future, particularly at Hot Sands Beach.
“A combination of climate change, human activity and wave action from both wind and boat wake have led to significant volumes of beach sand being lost into the lake each year,” Todd DeGruchy, senior project manager at the City of Kelowna, said in a press release.
“All the upgraded measures in place will help keep City Park a popular destination for years to come.”
Natural materials like trees, rock and logs were chosen in an effort to slow the erosion of beach sands, especially at the north end, which has experienced significant beach loss through the years, resulting in significant elevation change.
The city also moved the promenade walkway farther away from the water to allow for a more gradual slope on the beach. It added a new planting area that staff said will provide stability with the added root mass at the top of the bank.
There have also been anchored logs added near the top of the beach to help protect the landscape and upper areas of the park from flood damage that may occur.
A system made of anchored logs shaped into a V and newly planted willow trees and grasses with rock in front and behind will be placed at the lake’s high-water mark.
Its aim is to dissipate the energy of the waves to reduce erosion as well as encourage the accumulation of sand around them.
As the logs decay, the root system of the willow trees is intended to bind with the rocks to create natural protection of the shoreline for the future.
It’s been almost 12 years since Kelowna’s oldest park has seen a major capital project. In 2021, a bathroom facility near the park’s Cold Sands Beach was constructed as Phase 1 of the City Park Improvements project.