The District of Lake Country invited the public to provide feedback based on newly released concepts for Oyama Isthmus Park from mid-August to early September 2020. The feedback was added to a new report reviewed by council and shared Friday, Sept. 25. (Contributed)

Public input sharpens vision of Oyama Ithmus Park

Proposed project to shape the long-term future of waterfront land in Lake Country

Public feedback has brought the future of the Oyama isthmus into sharper focus.

From mid-august to Sept. 7, the District of Lake Country invited residents to review a concept design for the proposed Oyama Isthmus Park, which presents a bold, long-term vision for an eight-hectare parcel of land stretching nearly one kilometre from Trask Road to the Oyama boat launch.

A host of amenities have been proposed, including a floating pier, packinghouse building, diving dock and zipline, outdoor fitness area, children’s play tower and a vast lawn area.

The district called the public’s response “overwhelming,” with 321 survey completions and more than 1,000 visits to the Let’s Talk Oyama Isthmus webpage. The feedback was incuded in a report by consultants and District of Lake Country staff that was presented to council earlier this week.

The 70-page report shows the kinds of park developments the public most strongly supports, including:

  • Improved water access
  • Cleaner, safer more usable space
  • New restrooms
  • Balancing nature and recreation
  • Community space
  • Parking improvements
  • Accessibility and a variety of uses
  • Designated non-motorized zone.

The top areas of concern among survey respondents include the loss of pocket beaches and small-town feel, traffic congestion, parking shortages and bigger crowds in an already crowded area.

READ MORE: Design concepts released for Oyama Isthmus Park

Protection of the natural environment was the top priority among survey respondents, and according to the report, a primary goal of the project is to “balance waterfront access for recreation with the protection and enhancement of threatened riparian ecosystems.”

Lake Country council supported the idea of breaking the project into phases to be completed over the course of multiple decades.

“It is important to note that phases of the project will not proceed unless council approves expenditures,” the District of Lake Country said.

Phases will be discussed at annual budget meetings typically held in December and February each year. Construction costs will depend on available funding, economic conditions, phase selection and size, sequencing, design, and construction timing, the district said.

The first phase would involve improvements to the Wood Lake shoreline from the western park boundary to the central beach area. The second phase includes the development of a west entry plaza, amenity building, great lawn and parking lots, as well as the realignment of the rail trail and improvements to the park frontage along Oyama Road.

Eleven phases are listed in total, with others devoted to the Packing House Square, central beach, play pier, boat launch and children’s playground.

The property was largely acquired by the District of Lake Country through the purchase of the CN Rail corridor in 2015.

The full report can be found on the District of Lake Country’s Let’s Talk Oyama Isthmus webpage.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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