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City shores up waterfront plans

Waterfront revitalization took not one, but two steps forward last week as Penticton council agreed to embark on a head lease and sublease for land along Okanagan Lake.

Before, the B.C. government leased the waterfront parcel directly to the Penticton Yacht and Tennis Club. The lease covers a portion of the marina containing approximately 24 moorage sites, the club building and the tennis courts. The previous agreement lasted 30 years, and it expired on Nov. 17, 2011.

Mayor Dan Ashton has said previously that a critical component of moving forward with the city’s Okanagan waterfront redevelopment plan is the city maintaining control of the lands in the form of a head lease — giving them overall contractual responsibility of the area.

The city has since been granted a tenure offer by the province, and plans to sublet the land to the yacht club.

“This puts it in the hands of the citizens of the City of Penticton,” Ashton said.

Under the lease, the province is charging an annual rate of $23,832.20 plus tax, with a replacement fee of $250 and four per cent of gross potential moorage fees. Under the head lease, the city is responsible for paying that amount; while under the sublease, 100 per cent of the costs are passed on to the yacht and tennis club.

“There has been substantial increase to the cost of this,” Ashton said, noting later the former agreement saw the province charge $6,000 per year.

The city has already negotiated reductions with the province, he added, and there may be additional wiggle room. “We will be in further discussions with the province.”

Coun. Judy Sentes said it was important for residents to realize the city was not marking up the lease costs. “We’re not implementing anything different,” she said.

Peter Wallace, the city’s land manager, wrote in his report to council that the city’s acquisition of the subject lands is required to make progress on the Okanagan waterfront redevelopment plan.

“The intent is to consolidate several of the smaller leases in the area into one to facilitate the eventual redevelopment of the marina, foreshore and parks,” Wallace wrote.

He explained the city’s control of the head lease would provide stability and allow the city to conduct environmental testing and required remediation, if any, prior to future redevelopment.

Part of the head lease package for the provincial government includes a management plan for the lands, which indicate the yacht club would continue to operate the facility as they have in the past, the city would conduct the necessary testing, the property may be redeveloped in a five- to 10-year timeline according to plans that are subject to public review and ministry approval.

Coun. Garry Litke absented himself from the discussion and vote because of his club membership. Council unanimously approved the staff recommendation.

 

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