Have your say on SS Sicamous Area Master Plan

Envisioning the future means celebrating the past. The City of Penticton wants to hear from the marine heritage buffs, waterfront enthusiasts and everyone in between as the SS Sicamous Area Master Plan project gets underway.

“There have been many ideas put forward on what should be done with the waterfront and park areas around the SS Sicamous, but they have never been consolidated into a plan guided by community consultation,” said Mayor Garry Litke. “It is fitting that, during the SS Sicamous' centennial celebration, the City asks the public to look to the future by considering a master plan of the area.”

The area is central to the cultural history unique to the Okanagan. Now known as the home of the SS Sicamous, it is the site where visitors come to learn about the marine heritage of the area. The Canadian Pacific sternwheeler played an integral part of Penticton's waterfront when it provided a transportation link between communities along Okanagan Lake.

Before the sternwheeler was launched, however, First Nations used the area for traditional marine uses. Several initiatives recognizing this have been considered over the years, including interpretation and display of First Nations traditional marine uses, boat building such as canoe construction and sale of First Nations crafts and materials that relate to historic boating.

Waterfront users also consider this as an important space for accessing the water – meandering out on the rock outlook, wandering around the heritage shipyard, beach and swimming, or launching human-powered watercraft like kayaks. Many others have requested additional uses, such as boat rentals.

While many ideas and suggestions have been generated for the area, those concepts have not been aggregated into a plan to guide future improvements to the area until now.

Significant public consultation will ensure the master plan includes long- term, sustainable directions for uses, programs and capital improvements in and around the SS Sicamous. Several meetings with area stakeholders have been scheduled allowing those directly affected to give input and feedback on vision.

The public is invited to take part by attending an upcoming public consultation session Saturday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A display tent will be set up at the Peach along Lakeshore Drive during the Peach City Beach Cruise outlining the research conducted to date on past plans and stakeholder concepts for public feedback. As the process unfolds, additional consultation will be held later in the year.

The consultation session will also offer the public a chance to view and comment on the concepts for the Peach Plaza and walkway leading to the Kiwanis Pier. Work is scheduled to begin later in the year, and feedback provided during these sessions will help shape design in the months to come.

For more information, visit the Waterfront project webpage.