Bike safety

A rider in the Three Blind Mice area.

City staff is recommending greater oversight of trail development in the Three Blind Mice area and creation of a master plan for the popular recreational spot on the northeastern edge of Penticton.

The moves, which council is set consider at its meeting Tuesday, come in response to concerns raised by neighours, who have complained about wildfire risks and the proliferation of trails on the 134 hectares of city-owned land that’s under licence to the Penticton and Area Cycling Association.

In his report to council, public works manager Len Robson recommends budgeting $100,000 and a “significant” amount of staff time for creation of a Three Blind Mice master plan, which was itself recommended in the 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

“Given the potentially sensitive ecosystem and recreational popularity of this property, consideration should be given to restricting any further development until such time as the management plan for this area is complete,” writes Robson.

That management plan “would consider and provide direction on matters including the community vision for this property; the identification, protection and enhancement of the sensitive environmental areas; the various current uses of the property and their respective impacts; and… identify the growth potential and limitations of recreational development within the park.”

In the meantime, suggests Robson, council should amend the licences held by PACA and the Penticton Disc Golf Club to add new language “that outlines requirements to ensure orderly maintenance and development of the related infrastructure, considers the sensitive environmental values that may exist on the property, implements recognized design standards, outlines public consultations requirements and approval processes as desired by the City of Penticton.”

Robson will also ask council to begin the process of rezoning the Three Blind Mice area from forestry-grazing to park, which would match its designation in the Official Community Plan.

In addition to its licence for the city-owned portion of Three Blind Mice, PACA also has tenure over approximately 1,600 hectares of adjacent Crown land. All told, there is roughly 100 kilometres trails on the mountain slope that’s accessed via Riddle Road.

Council is slated to kick off its meeting Tuesday with a presentation from a group looking to restart talks on a new indoor tennis facility and get an update from the South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society on its recent visioning workshop.

A single public hearing is set for 6 p.m. concerning a rezoning required to build a duplex and garage on an empty lot at 581 Churchill Avenue.