Marina Way Lookout official opening

The newest view of Okanagan Lake will officially open on today (Thursday), with a brief ceremony and historical tour to mark the official opening of Marina Way Lookout.

“The Marina Way Lookout project is another achievement in Council's waterfront enhancement strategic priority,” said Deputy Mayor Helena Konanz. “Residents and visitors can now enjoy more green space, restored ecological habitat and a tranquil place for people to enjoy the Okanagan Lake view.”

The project vision was to transform an abandoned peninsula formerly used as a Canadian National Railway loading dock into a naturalized park area that restores Okanagan Lake riparian habitat, improves urban forest and enhances the environment.

Originally constructed in 1925, the former dock was used by CNR to transport fruit and assorted goods from the lakeshore packing houses, which were loaded onto railcars, pulled to a loading dock by a truck and eventually loaded onto barges for transportation up Okanagan Lake. As with many growing communities the railway played a key role in the economic and cultural development of the community. CNR continued to use the rails and dock until 1975. The site was then left undeveloped and has served as an informal parking lot for beach visitors.

The Marina Way Lookout project restored habitat in the environmentally sensitive area just east of the Penticton Art Gallery. Environmental restoration included creating an additional 1,000 square metres of habitat with the planting of 30 trees and 300 shrubs indigenous to the area, including cottonwood, aspen, dogwood and wild rose. Undesirable and invasive plant species were also removed.

The space was also transformed into a passive “lookout” space to enhance the experience of enjoying the lake view. A gravel path that connects with the Okanagan Lake walkway leads out to the end of the breakwater where a platform has been installed, allowing visitors a clear vantage point of Okanagan Lake. New benches were also installed, and parking was maintained.

The heritage of the area will also be celebrated, as the location served as the primary gateway to accessing the original townsite, just to the east of Penticton Creek. A section of rail lines have been installed to mark the significance of the area, and interpretive signs will be established in the coming months.

The official opening will be held at 5 p.m. with brief speeches, followed by a free historical walking tour by Penticton Museum and Archives Curator Peter Ord.