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Marina Grand Opening and Name Unveiling

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Marina Grand Opening and Name Unveiling

The marina at Lion’s Park, the centerpiece of the town’s ambitious waterfront development plan, will be known as the Desert Sunrise Marina. The new name, approved by Osoyoos Council following a public engagement process, was unveiled at the official opening of the marina on Friday, May 10.

Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells praised the public-private partnership that brought about the new marina as well as a host of modern amenities in the surrounding area. “The name is a great example of how the people of Osoyoos embraced this project,” he said. “Some 66 residents responded to our invitation to name the marina. They came up with great ideas, including local features and wildlife like turtle, lions, sun, desert, and osprey. While the final decision was a tough one, we felt Desert Sunrise best captured what the Town of Osoyoos is all about.”  John Jelich and Cathy Martins suggested the word “desert” and Rose-Anne Sole and William (Bill) Osachoff suggested the name “sunrise."  Thank you to all the participants in the park naming process.

The mayor also had kind words for Osoyoos Shoreline Developments (OSD), developers of the Watermark Beach Resort.” Back when this was just a gleam in the town’s eye, OSD agreed to develop the marina at Lions Park, ensuring public access to Gyro Beach would not be affected. In addition, the company contributed financially.” In fact, OSD and the town each contributed half of the $1.3 million dollar total cost of the project and has control over half of the slips.

Glen Harris of OSD shares the mayor’s enthusiasm for the OSD-Osoyoos partnership. “In the end, we exceeded every expectation,” he said. “This is wonderful facility for the Town of Osoyoos.”

In addition to the marina, the Osoyoos waterfront now features boat launches, a boat launch dock, marina office/washroom, expanded parking area, surrounding road works, walkways, and shoreline enhancement areas. Also unveiled at Friday’s grand opening were the new Goodman Park Washroom and the Gyro Park washroom and concession, constructed at a combined cost of 367,176.72. The marina and the washroom projects were funded with a total of $498,996.72 from the Resort Municipality Imitative program. As one of 14 designated resort municipalities, Osoyoos receives approximately $275,000 a year to fund tourism-related amenities.  

The marina work included dredging the lagoon, redi-rock retaining walls, reconstruction of two boat launches, construction of 32 boat slips across the back of the lagoon, a boat launch dock, fencing, security gates and landscaping.  However, the construction of the marina was not without incident, the need to protect native wildlife in the area slowed work to a turtle’s pace – literally. A hibernating painted turtle shut down construction for seven weeks as workers waited for it to awaken from its slumber. Pump activity also had to be minimized around an osprey nest.  In retrospect, the decision to delay the project was clearly the right thing to do, says Mayor Wells, but the decision to protect area wildlife did increase the cost of the project.

Friday’s ceremony was especially heart-warming for Mayor Wells. In the late 1950s, his father, George, was a key figure in turning what was then a slough into a marina. “From where I live, I could see the new marina taking shape every day over the past year. It was heart-warming and satisfying at the same time.”

The seeds for today’s marina were sown in the summer of 2007 when the town hired a landscape architectural firm to work with the waterfront steering committee and various stakeholders. Their task was to develop a master plan to revitalize Osoyoos’ waterfront from the bridge north to 92nd Avenue. A year later, the town entered into a public-private agreement with OSD.

Today, the Desert Sunrise Marina provides long-term moorage to residents and visitors. However, you don’t need a boat to appreciate the changes that have made the Osoyoos waterfront one of the most attractive in the South Okanagan. For example, the waterfront walkways that are used by families, tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. The walkway from the bridge to the Gyro Park bandshell was paid for and constructed by OSD. The walkway that runs from the Sailing Club, along the marina to the north end of Lions Park was paid for by the Town through Gas Tax Funding at a cost of $98,648.00, and along this route are new interpretative environmental and historical signs that were created in partnership with the Osoyoos Museum.

Even the Osoyoos Sailing Club has caught the renovation spirit, repainting and stuccoing its building in Gyro Park.

The result, says Mayor Wells, are the finest and most modern waterfront facilities in the region.


      Rose-Anne Sole one of the four Marina namees.
 Mayor and Council unveiling the new Marina Sign.                              Rose-Anne Sole one of the four Marina namees.

For additional information please call:

Barry Romanko, CAO
Town of Osoyoos
(T)  250.495.6515

Event date: 
Tuesday, 14 May, 2013
News item
Press release
While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this data, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with the Town of Osoyoos.   Town of Osoyoos
Box 3010, 8707 Main Street
Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0
(TF) 1.888.495.6515
(T) 250.495.6515
(F) 250.495.2400


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