Council’s decision shortsighted
The “decision” made by Penticton council last week with respect to Munson Mountain was a foolish, shortsighted one.
Whether by design, serendipity, or default, our city acquired some prime future natural parkland that will be well received by our growing population in the short to medium term. This parkland would be eminently suitable for a future orchard/vineyard interpretation centre, a natural park demonstrating our bio-diversity, or as a venue for the Rotary Children’s Festival.
It can be agreed by all that there will be a need, and the market value is highly unlikely to ever be less than the acquisition price. I believe the people of Penticton voted against flood-lit ball fields on this site in the referendum and did not truly consider the value of parkland which is an allowable use within the terms of the ALR. Council should rectify this.
The decision to consider a 49-year lease is little more than the council (4-3) abdicating its decision making responsibility in favour of politicking in the absence of common sense. Maybe time is past due to consider term limits to ensure decisions might be made in the absence of looking ahead to the silly season.
The rationale put forward by SPADE that their “raison d’etre” is to ensure food security is an obfuscation of truth. If a long term lease or a sale is offered for this property, it is very likely it will be converted to a vineyard-winery operation. I will be among the first to support this economically and I truly enjoy a great bottle of wine.
However, let us not confuse the current concept of grape production with food security. If our supply of food becomes a real issue, we can take plow, harrow, and seeder to every golf course, soccer and baseball field in our area and we will quickly have all the potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to tide us through the longest winter.
It is also time that SPADE reveals itself for who it really is. I do not believe that they are lobbying for the principles of the ALR and food security in general. I believe they are a single issue self-interest group.