Lisa Martin of the Save Skaha Park Society answers questions from one of the attendees at the group’s Earth Day event in the park last April. Steve Kidd/Western News

Society vows to keep fighting

The Save Skaha Park Society says it plans to keep going and fight to preserve parkland

The Save Skaha Park Society says they will be sticking around, at least until the next municipal election in November 2018.

The society formed in 2015 in the wake of the City of Penticton signing a deal to lease a portion of Skaha Lake Park for commercial development. One of their first actions—in September 2015—was to file a civil suit in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to block the deal.

The society dropped their civil suit in December after ongoing protest forced the city to renegotiate their deal with Trio Marine Group.

More: Save Skaha Park drops lawsuit

Society organizers said in a release they are proud of the support and hard work of its members in preventing a waterslide from being built in Skaha Lake Park, but there is still work to be done, and they plan to continue to be an active voice for the preservation of parkland in Penticton.

“Our first focus will be to closely monitor the implementation process of the terms of the new Skaha Park agreement and meeting of conditions precedent. Past actions of this city council have demonstrated there is a need for this,” reads the release.

Another focus is to follow the progress of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, a second draft of which is expected to be released to the public in June.

More: Penticton releases draft of parks master plan

According to the minutes of their Feb. 8 meeting, the master plan steering committee is still struggling with the commercial use of parkland.

“The chair (Ron Ramsay) noted no much progress has been made and we need to provide thoughtful guidance on this subject and suggested a facilitated workshop is needed to deal with this issue,” reads the minutes.

A motion to have city staff facilitate a workshop was defeated, and the committee agreed to ask the Regional District South Okanagan Similkameen to provide a facilitator, and if that wasn’t possible, search for an alternate outside facilitator.

“Once completed and accepted by the city, this plan will arguably be the most important single factor in determining what level of commercialization, if any, to be permitted in our parks in the foreseeable future,” said the SSPS advisory committee in their release.

The society also plans to make parks and commercial usage an issue in the next municipal election.

“We must ensure that such a divisive issue as the Skaha Park waterslide fiasco is never again allowed to happen in our city,” they said.

More: City of Penticton responds to Skaha Park lawsuits

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