New boathouse?

An artistic rendering of a new boathouse on the east side of Skaha Lake Park.

Three options – the cheapest of which is estimated to cost $2.1 million – are now officially on the table for the east side of Skaha Lake Park.

The concepts were presented last week to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. All of them call for the splash park to be replaced at a cost of $450,000 and upwards of $900,000 worth of improvements to the green space and lakeside walkway there. The key differences lie in how space and infrastructure is split between motorized and non-motorized users, like dragon boaters.

The first concept would see little change in the way the area is used today, with a new, bigger boathouse for non-motorized users like dragon boaters built on the existing footprint, and renewal of the marina and its equipment. It comes with a $2.8-million price tag.

The second concept would see the marina building repurposed for commercial use and a reduction in the number of dock slips that would allow day-use only, plus a new boathouse. That’s estimated to cost $2.4 million.

Finally, for $2.1 million, the area could be totally reconfigured to give even more emphasis to non-motorized boating. That concept would see the existing docks repurposed to accommodate non-motorized boaters, who would then see their existing boathouse removed to make way for more green space. The boat launch would stay, but there would be no docking, storage or other marina services. And the riparian area near the existing marina building would be expanded.

Some of the costs could be offset by donations and grants, such as the $150,000 the Rotary Club of Penticton has already committed to the splash park replacement.

“Our plan is to provide an update to council at their meeting on Sept.15 and with their direction, review the concepts with the community and key stakeholders,” city engagement officer JoAnne Kleb said in an email.

“Similar to the process to develop the plan for the Robinson property, staff will seek feedback on all of the options in each concept and will work with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to ‘mix and match’ the options and create a single preferred plan. This plan will also be reviewed with the community before it is presented to council for a decision.”

Ironically, it was the ill-fated Trio waterslides development proposed for the east side of the park that was the main catalyst for a new master plan, work on which began in 2019.