For 37 years, kids have been wheeling their way through Penticton Safety Village. And thanks to a renewed ‘licence to use’ agreement in the works with the City of Penticton, they’ll be riding and rolling for many more years to come.
This is a place where kids can be kids and have some freedom on their bikes in a safe environment. For many, it has become a local institution, passed down through generations. Grandparents recall bringing their kids here to learn the rules of the road. Those kids are now parents, watching their own kids peddling the streets.
If you haven’t paid it a visit recently, Penticton Safety Village is a local gem. It’s set up like a child-sized village, complete with paved roads and themed buildings – minus any motorized vehicles. Kids love the overhead traffic light system, much like the real world just outside the gates.
“I like it because of the special cool [traffic] lights they have. You stop at a red light, go at a green light and yellow, you have to go slow. So it’s kind of tricky because it’s like the real world,” says Elise, 8. “It feels like one of the best towns because there’s no cars – just scooters and bikes.”
Run by volunteers
The facility is run by a team of volunteers and funding is reliant on government grants and event bookings. They offer free drop-in open bike times or the ability to rent out the entire place for just $75 for a birthday party. Penticton Safety Village is also grateful for receiving cash donations and volunteer support from the Kiwanis Club.
In addition to the road safety element, the Village offers a space for the Penticton Fire Department to conduct fire safety drills with school groups (pre-COVID).
“The Safety Village is such a microcosm of Penticton,” says manager Tina Lee. “It’s been going for almost 40 years and we hope to do it for another 40. Parents and grandparents remember taking their kids here. Generationally, it’s been a favourite for a very long time.”
Saying that, the facility is due for some TLC. The volunteer board will be launching a fundraising campaign later this fall to raise money for building improvements and a new shade structure. The original architect who designed the village has also offered to lend a hand.
Going forward, Lee says the volunteer board aims to have the gates open to the public as much as possible. They’re also offering a free meeting space for non-profit societies.
Thank you, to everyone involved with Penticton Safety Village.
“Safety Village is the funnest park ever ‘cos they have a sprinkler for a car wash, a parking lot for bikes and there’s [traffic] lights like in the real world.” – Amalie, 8
“I like the stop lights, the roads and the car wash. It’s like a real road and you can pretend you’re a car.” – Tessa, 10
Find out more
Watch the Penticton Safety Village Facebook page for information about upcoming open bike times. Simply drop by with your own set of wheels and a helmet. It’s located at 490 Edmonton Avenue. Visit their website for more information.
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