A floating water park, a mobile food truck and an outdoor recreation business will all be conducting seasonal operations near the intersection of 13th Street and Beach Avenue this summer, and two porta potties will be installed to deal with the extra human waste that’s expected from increased traffic.
Prominently located at that same intersection is Bliss Bakery and Bistro, and owner Barry Yeo isn’t happy with the seasonal arrangement. He worries that lineups and nasty conditions will tempt customers of other businesses to use the washrooms inside Bliss.
And with hundreds of young children using the porta potties every day, Yeo is concerned about the level of sanitation.
“When one kid uses the bathroom they can make a mess,” he said. “With hundreds of kids each day, those bathrooms are going to be disgusting.”
He said it’s very likely that there will be accidents, and “That’s going to cause the next child to have something really disg usting on their hands.
“I’m frustrated by lack of due process,” he said. “Talking with District fell on deaf ears.”
To deal with unwanted traffic in his shop, Yeo will be imposing a new policy at Bliss: washrooms will be locked and customer will have to access them with a key.
He’s anticipating that parents will complain when they find out their child can’t use the bathrooms at Bliss, and he’ll present them with complaint forms containing the names and contact info of council.
Another amenity Yeo is concerned about is parking.
“I don’t know where this parking is going to come from – parking is already crazy enough in the summertime.”
The owner of Wibit Water Park, Riley Gallagher, is optimistic that two porta potties will be sufficient for the extra traffic his business brings to town, but if it turns out that more are needed, “We’ll act accordingly and provide a sufficient number of bathrooms,” he said.
Gallagher doesn’t want Wibit to be seen as a bad neighbour. He sympathizes with Yeo’s washroom concern and said the porta potties will be kept sufficiently sanitary.
“We’re not going to operate like a music festival, we want customers to have an enjoyable experience,” he said.
“Hopefully we can generate more business for (Bliss) and keep people away from his bathroom.”
Gallagher is actually a big fan of Bliss – his current apartment is located directly above the Bliss Bakery in Kelowna, and that was the driving force behind his decision to move there.
Mayor Cindy Fortin is optimistic about the increased activity at Beach and 13th this summer. While it’s possible that more bathrooms will be needed, “We won’t know how popular it will be until it starts,” she said.
“This is a good trial run. We need to bring things for younger families to enjoy.”
As for parking, Fortin said improvements are underway further south on Beach Avenue, and there is usually a usually fair amount of parking near 13th Street.
On behalf of the Peachland Chamber of Commerce, interim president Dave Collins is cautiously optimistic about the extra activity near 13th and Beach this summer.
“We love that there’s something more to do with kids to enjoy the summer but we hope that it’s not too crowded,” he said.
“And we hope the nearby business isn’t completely overrun by kids needing to use the washroom.”
It isn’t just kids who will be jumping around on Wibit though. Last summer out of the Penticton location, Gallagher recalled a man in his 50s “smiling from ear-to-ear because he said it’s been a long time since he’s felt like a kid.”
The most common users are between the ages of 7 and 14 he said, but people as old as 85 have enjoyed the Wibit.
The grand opening in Peachland is tentatively scheduled for the third weekend of June.
Update, May 19: Barry Yeo issues formal statement